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Jia Pingwa's new novel, Ji Hua, tells the story of a woman who is freed after three years after being kidnapped. The author, who won the Mao Dun Literature Prize, China's top literary award, for his earlier novel Qin Qiang (Qinqiang Opera), has named his latest book after an imaginary flower, which has later found to be the Chinese caterpillar fungus.
Ji Hua is the tale of Hu Die, a girl from a poor rural family who accompanies her single mother to the city.
Jia is among China's most influential contemporary writers, and his books have been translated into many languages, including English, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Korean.
Ji Hua was written based on a real-life story that Jia had heard from a resident of Xi'an, in Northwest China's Shaanxi province, a decade ago.
Jia, who also comes from a rural family, then began to focus on population thinning in rural areas of China.
Several years ago, in many remote villages in Shaanxi, the number of residents fell so much that the villages were merged into one. Many women who go to the cities with their husbands either divorce or abandon them, fearing the prospect of returning to the poor villages. The situation reminded Jia of the story about the abducted girl, and resulted in the new novel of around 200 pages - his shortest - using a concept he borrowed from Chinese ink painting, an art form in which he also excels. Instead of depicting pure good and evil, his book creates an organic image of a remote village in his home province, where challenging living conditions present many complexities. Chinese author Liang Hong, who is known for her works about the Chinese countryside, says for her, Ji Hua isn't about an abducted woman, but more about how to communicate with the land. According to Chen Xiaoming, a professor of Chinese literature at Peking University, Jia's writing is both about wronged women of rural China and the living conditions there.
The author writes about the villages that have been deserted for the cities - villages with history, beauty and vitality. The novel is a mix of realism, magical realism and many other avant-garde writing techniques. Since the novel was first published, it has set a record as a contemporary literary work, with about 2 million copies sold in China, according to People's Literature Publishing House.
In 2010, the novel was adapted into a film of the same name directed by Wang Quan'an and starring Zhang Fengyi, Zhang Yuqi and Duan Yihong. Feng Jicai, another highly accomplished writer, says in a message of condolence: "Chen scaled the highest peak of Chinese contemporary literature. Chang Zhenjia, 72, an editor at People's Literature Publishing House for more than 30 years, read the first edition of White Deer Plain and published the first review of the novel. Karl Schlecht, the 83-year-old sponsor of the China Center at Germany's Tubingen University. Wide-eyed students flocked around Karl Schlecht as he prepared to tuck into spring rolls and steamed buns after speaking at the opening of Tubingen University's China Center in Germany. The food went untouched until the 83-year-old had finished chatting and posing for pictures with his wellwishers. Sporting a bright-red tie, white shirt and double-breasted navy-blue suit, and wearing thin-rimmed glasses, he looked and sounded more like the students' favorite grandpa than a benefactor who once ruled a construction machinery empire that helped build the world's tallest skyscrapers. Born in a small Swabian town near Stuttgart in 1932, Schlecht learned to mix and lay mortar and concrete from his father, a master plasterer. While studying at the Technical University of Stuttgart in the late 1950s, the young Schlecht answered his father by designing an automated mortar machine, which he assembled in his garage. Before graduating college, Schlecht started a company that would help change the face of civil engineering, riding on the crest of Europe's post-war construction boom. In 2012, Schlecht astonished the world by selling the empire he had built single-handedly to a Chinese rival, Sany Heavy Industries, for a reported 560 million euros ($643 million).
Schlecht insists it was the right deal, and all the proceeds went to his charitable foundation. In addition to his charitable causes, Schlecht now serves as an adviser to Sany's chairman, once China's richest man. One of the first tips the German offered to Putzmeister's new owner came from an unexpected source: Confucius.
According to the German businessman, Confucius underlines essential elements of true entrepreneurship: trust, honesty, tolerance, love and responsibility. After the takeover, Schlecht persuaded Liang to become a joint patron of the World Ethics Institute at Peking University.
He now devotes most of his time to his charitable foundation, KSG, which has a long list of projects, including clean energy research and good leadership. Schlecht says the China Center at Tubingen, which is 30 minutes' drive from where he assembled his first mortar machine, was founded with an ideal: to make students aware of each other's history and of the forces that propelled China to become the world's second-largest economy within a generation. A voracious reader, he goes to bed to re-read Erich Fromm's The Art of Love or maybe a John Rockefeller biography.
The 29-year-old, who moved to the UK at age 15 to pursue his snooker dream, narrowly missed out on unseating Mark Selby from his world No 1 spot in a gripping final of the World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre.
It was another landmark in a career in which Ding has served as China's standard-bearer in a sport that has undergone a rapid growth of interest and participation.
Jason Ferguson, chairman of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, says snooker was already huge in China. In addition to Ding, players such as Zhou Yuelong, Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong are likely to become a lot more familiar over the next decade, as will others competing in a sport that attracts 100 million TV viewers at home. During this year's final it was announced that the World Snooker Championship will stay in Sheffield until at least 2027.
Ding, whose record at the World Championship was poor before this year, says: "Five years ago I reached the semifinals, and this year I made it one step further. Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry applauded Ding, saying he is at a different level from most others. Nowhere else in the world has one single humble bean given rise to such a large range of different foods, from juices, pickles, preserves, seasonings, custard to cakes of different textures, and finally, fertilizer. According to legend, it was indeed alchemy that led to the discovery of bean curd, more commonly known as tofu. Throughout Chinese history, those who ruled often were afraid of death, losing all they had gathered, or of having to leave all that power and glory.
In their attempts, they drew water from the region's natural springs and cooked ground up soybeans to create a base for that elusive pill. That was more than 2,000 years ago, and in the interim, bean curd has become one of the most important ingredients China has contributed to the world. As the Chinese ventured out, they brought the culture of bean curd with them, so much so that it took on a life of its own, adapting to the cuisines of various countries from Japan and Korea in the north to the Malay and Indonesian archipelagos to the south. Various forms of bean curd and its derivatives, too, have become the backbone of vegetarian cuisine in the global meatless movement.
Soybean products are a good source of vegetable protein, and after being processed, most no longer have that embarrassing side effect that made the bean itself so unpopular - flatulence.
One of the best breakfasts you can have in China is a piping hot bowl of soft bean curd, called doufunao in the north and doufuhua in the south.
The northerners prefer a savory version, dousing their soft bean curd with a brown sauce often laced with strips of mushrooms and a few dried daylily buds. No one cooks tofu better than the chefs who specialize in Huainan cuisine, right from the region where it was first invented. Here, tender blocks of tofu challenge the knife skills of chefs who float strands as thin as hair in rich chicken stock. Soft blocks of tofu are also steamed to retain their original bean flavor, and may be drizzled with soy sauce or oyster sauce and garnished with a sprinkle of chopped spring onions.
Cubes of a harder version may be deep-fried into puffs and then stuffed with a fish paste to create a dish popular with the Hakka community - niangdoufu.
Or the curds may be aged and fermented to create that notorious snack that has the uninitiated holding their noses. In the Jiangsu-Zhejiang region, stinky tofu is legendary, having made it into literary classics such as native son Lu Xun's works. Across the Straits, Taiwan's famous night markets must have at least one or two stinky tofu stalls.
Back in my Yunnan, slightly fermented tofu is sold at breakfast stalls, sprinkled with chopped peanuts, chili sauce and cilantro. Tender tofu and soft fish paste in custard translate to a dish suitable for both grandparents and grandchildren. This is a dish that contrasts the simple texture of the silken tofu with the stronger flavors of the spicy mince. Spread mince and sauce mix evenly over block of tofu and steam for 15 minutes on high heat. They are white, chubby and have sprigs on their heads - and Chinese social media can't get enough of them. Roughly half the population has conveyed some kind of emotion with a Budding Pop emoji on WeChat, the instant-messaging app, making them one of the most popular in the world. Many of them hope this fame will lead to financial rewards, too, as it means they can potentially produce books for fans to buy as well as sell the rights for their characters to companies for marketing purposes. He says the way his team works is similar to the Japanese cartoon industry: artists design an original image and others contribute ideas to update the series.
Zhong Wei in the northeast city of Shenyang has been drawing cartoons since 2014 and has published two picture books. Zhong has released three collections of the emoji via the instant-messaging app since August last year.
China's emoji craze is rooted in Japan's kawaii (cute) and otaku (outsider) movements, he explains. Shi Donglin, 23, creator of the Freezing Gal emoji, believes the ultra-short animations can also help bring light relief at tense or embarrassing moments. Freezing Gal, which has dark skin and a ponytail, is based on her experiences in college and is popular among students.
Unlike traditional cartoonists, who generally created characters before selling stories to magazines or publishing houses, Shi launched her career via social media. She says she will continue to make emojis and has now started on a series of picture books featuring Freezing Gal.
Cashing in while a character is hot is important, according to Xu Han, the artist behind Ali the red fox, another popular character. Wang at 12 Buildings agrees that it is hard to guarantee longevity, but he believes the internet provides opportunities for budding Chinese illustrators to work with major brands that would previously have opted for foreign talent. Budding Pop is now featured in promotions by Procter & Gamble, the multinational consumer goods company, while smartphone maker Xiaomi is using Freezing Gal to reach new buyers. Xu is a good model for any modern Chinese illustrator: first came the character, then picture books and emojis, and then online shops selling merchandise. Ali originally appeared online and in magazines in 2006, but only after making his debut on instant-messaging app WeChat last year did the character gain mass appeal. The fourth installment, Carrousel Garden, published in March, sees Ali encounter characters from Western fairy tales, such as the Little Prince, Pinocchio and the Ugly Duckling. Even if Chinese artists can gain exposure through the internet and social media, he says building a brand is not easy. During his six years in the job, he says there has been a noticeable increase in men in kindergarten classrooms, but there are still hurdles to attracting more. Chen Yilang and a student strike a kung fu pose at the China Welfare Institute Kindergarten in Shanghai. So are education officials, who have moved to act in recent years in the fear that Chinese schools are producing effeminate boys. Despite relaxing the college admission requirements for men seeking to study preschool education, as well as offering scholarships that come with a guarantee of full-time employment, the number of men entering the field has remained low. In Shanghai, for example, just 200 of the more than 53,000 teachers at 2,000 kindergartens were men in 2014, according to the city's education commission.
Industry insiders say the biggest hurdles are the general perception that teaching preschool is for women and the relatively low salaries that are offered to educators.
Chen Yilang, who works at the same kindergarten as Gao, says most people in his job earn about 55,000 yuan ($8,400; 7,500 euros) a year, which is roughly 10,000 yuan lower than the city average in 2014. Education experts believe the gender imbalance at preschools could have a serious social impact, as this stage of education can be critical to the forming of a young person's character.
Feng Wei, the principal of the China Welfare Institute Kindergarten, argues that the shortage of male teachers has led to an increase in boys who are shy and timid. The typical family environment in China has also played a role, she says, as mothers are expected to raise the children while fathers bring home the bacon. To address the problem, authorities need to focus on promoting respect, says Shi Bin, director of the Fundamental Education Development Center at Shanghai Normal University. Parents are noticing, too, and some are already taking action to "toughen up" their sons by enrolling them in team sports and activities. China Welfare Institute Kindergarten has been recruiting male teachers since the late 1990s.
The distinct teaching methods employed by the male and female teachers "are a perfect complement" and help to provide children with a holistic learning experience, according to Feng. Gao, for example, says he tries to reinforce "masculine qualities" through physical activities such as making students climb orange trees to pick the fruit.
Wang Jiaming, another male teacher at the school, agrees that it is important to have a mix of male and female educators involved in a child's education.
Chen adds that male teachers prefer to let children obtain physical knowledge and abilities through frequent sporting activities. Strange as it may seem, carving fruit pits - or drupes, pips, seeds, and nuts if you prefer - goes back centuries. Crafting peach and apricot pits walnut shells, and even olive seeds into Buddha figurines, jewelry and landscapes has been practiced at least since the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC).
Yun's most famous pieces express a sense of active realism, often are praised for the sense of life he gives to his subjects, which sometimes are celebrities. Located in the heart of the city and well known for its labyrinth of alleys, Tianzifang was built where abandoned factories from the 1940s and historical Shikumen residential buildings from the 1920s once stood. Yu Hai, a professor of sociology at Fudan University who has studied Tianzifang since its inception nearly 20 years ago, says it is a shame that the true charm of the area has been lost in the modernization process.
This used to be a place where people can savor the essence of old Shanghai, and one that was slated to become a community for people from the creative industries.
Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head of the Dapuqiao area which Taikang Road is under, recalls how Tianzifang used to be a vibrant place filled with the sounds and smells coming from the homes of Shanghainese families. In 1998, Zheng kicked off the project to turn the area into a hub for the cultural industry. In 1999, Chen Yifei, a world-renowned Chinese painter, and several other artists set up studios in the old factories on Lane 210 along Taikang Road, creating a cluster of more than 200 culture and art venues.
One year later, the sub-district government leased the remaining spaces to a sole proprietor named Wu Meisheng. Fortunately, thanks to the intervention of Zheng and a group of his supporters, Tianzifang emerged unscathed.
According to statistics provided by Yu, 100 million square meters of old buildings in Shanghai were torn down between the early 1990s and 2008 to make way for modern ones. However, the Shanghai government has also been striving to preserve traditional architecture, turning many old estates into zones for creative industries. According to statistics from the municipal government, there were 87 zones hosting creative industries and 52 parks for cultural industries at the end of 2013.
Following this incident, Zheng realized that the residents from neighboring lanes needed to band together to help expand the size of Tianzifang in order to boost the significance of the area. However, he says that he had done so only because the 3,500 yuan ($540) he charged for rent would go a long way in helping with his living expenses - he was only getting 300 yuan every month from his retirement pension. In the past decade, more than 500 households have followed in Zhou's footsteps to convert their houses to non-residential units. While the interiors of many of the buildings have since been renovated and given a new coat of paint, the old brick facades from which Tianzifang gets its charm, are still very much intact. Laundry would hang from balconies as new-age music spilled through windows of boutique shops on the ground floor. In 2008, the government took over Tianzifang and shifted the focus from developing the place into an art and culture hub to commercialization, security and property management. As one of the first shop owners to arrive on Lane 274 in 2007, Yan Hongliang, who sells ceramic art designed and produced in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, has witnessed the tremendous changes that have taken place since. Having already struggled to break even in the first few years of his business, the exorbitant rent now has made doing business in Tianzifang unrealistic.
Unsurprisingly, Yu's survey reveals that many shop owners have cited the rising rent - it has increased at least ten-fold in 20 years - as the primary reason for relocating. Fabienne Wallenwein, a German PhD student who is enrolled in a one-year exchange program at Fudan University, shares the same sentiment. In the meantime, Zheng Rongfa, the former administrative head, says he can only hope that the government thinks the same way about the future direction of Tianzifang's development.
They range from cotton drawers worn by the mother of Queen Victoria (the V&A museum is named for the 19th-century monarch and her husband), to a Swarovski crystal-studded bra and thong.
But there are men's unmentionables, too, including 18th-century shirts, which were considered underwear because they were worn next to the skin - only the collars and cuffs could decently be shown. Curators of the show have emphasized the contribution of female designers and innovators such as Roxey Ann Caplin, whose "health corset" - designed to shape the body without crushing the internal organs - won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Waist-constricting corsets run through the exhibition, in versions that range from functional to fetishistic. Edwina Ehrman, the exhibition's curator, says Lycra was "a fabulous breakthrough" - and a reminder that the evolution of underwear is a story of technology as well as creativity. The exhibition reveals that the line between underwear and outerwear has long been blurred. Recent years have seen the line blur even further, as tracksuits, onesies and other loungewear moved from the living room onto the streets.
But French lingerie designer Fifi Chachnil - whose signature Babyloo playsuit is on display in the exhibition - thinks we will always want to show off our skivvies. A full scale replica of Dumont's legendary airplane called "14 Bis" sits outside the museum, which is the centerpiece of a revamping of the Rio port area ahead of the Olympic Games starting in 100 days. The Flying Poet is a big exhibit, the first of its kind dedicated to a man who while weighing a mere 50 kilograms was a giant of aviation.
Although perhaps less well known than the Wright brothers in the United States, Dumont is celebrated in Brazil as no less than the true first pilot. Although this was three years after the Wright brothers' historic flight in North Carolina, his fans argue that only his exploit met the definition of a certified, independently powered flight.
It's a polemic rich with nationalism, but what's sure is that Dumont, who has Rio's domestic airport named after him, remains a fascinating figure. The Franco-Brazilian Dumont, who lived from 1873 to 1932, had a reputation for eccentricity and imagination.
Before his feat in the "14 Bis" he was already famed for flights in balloons and dirigibles, including one he used to moor outside his house in Paris and used to fly to join friends across town. He can also claim to having been one of the first to wear a wrist watch, having asked his friend - none other than the even more famous Louis Cartier - to make him something more practical for telling the time in the air than the traditional pocket watch.
The pop-up drone cafe will be serving up all weekend as part of celebrations for the "Dream and Dare" festival marking the 60th anniversary of the Eindhoven University of Technology. The 20 students behind the project, who spent nine months developing and building the autonomous drone, aim to show how such small inside craft could become an essential part of modern daily life. The drone, nicknamed Blue Jay, which resembles a small white flying saucer with a luminescent strip for eyes, flies to a table and hovers as it takes a client's order, who points to the list to signal what they would like.
The drinks are picked up and carried by a set of pinchers underneath the drone, in a bid to show that these aerial machines could be used to carry out delicate missions such as delivering medicines or even helping to track down burglars.
Each drone has cost about 2,000 euros ($2,293) to build, in a project funded by the university which the students say aims "to give a glimpse of the future".
Thanks to sensors and a long battery life they can fly inside buildings and navigate crowded interiors, unlike other drones, which rely on a GPS system. They believe the drone's applications could be endless: as extinguishers to put out fires, alarm systems to warn of intruders or mini-servants which would respond to commands such as "fetch me an apple".
The skimmer is lowered from the rear of the icebreaker, its weight pushing massive pieces of ice under the water and forcing the spilt oil up to the surface, where the sticky black goo can be sucked up.
Luckily, this is just a test: as the world's superpowers eye the lucrative Arctic region with growing interest, unprecedented oil spill clean-up tests in icy Finnish conditions reveal just how hazardous and challenging an accident in the Arctic's pristine sea ice could be. Emergency crews could face total darkness, extreme storms and shifting pack ice, racing against time as the oil puts endangered polar bears, seals and other wildlife at risk. With countries and companies increasingly venturing into the polar region - the melting ice caused by global warming has opened up new shipping routes and potential oil, gas and mineral deposits - the risk of an environmental catastrophe has skyrocketed, worrying ecologists and authorities. Fearing an oil spill in its own heavily-trafficked, ice-covered Baltic Sea, Finnish authorities are racing against the clock to develop an efficient response to an oil spill in icy conditions. On any other day, Antti Rajaniemi, the 37-year-old captain of Finnish icebreaker "Ahto", would be clearing the way in the country's northern ports, where even the largest vessels can get trapped within hours.
A thick layer of solid ice groans and crunches before giving in and breaking into pieces, as the bow of the small but forceful icebreaker forges a path. Finland's state-owned icebreaking operator Arctia has set itself the goal of being able to recover oil in the harshest of conditions: when a lid of thick ice covers the sea. The shallow waters here provide unique conditions for the tests, with brackish water and thick ice, Arctia said. While Finland is not an oil producing country, it fears a leaking oil tanker could cause irreparable damage to the Baltic Sea's fragile ecosystem. There are around 350,000 ship crossings a year in the Baltic, even though 45 percent of its surface is covered by ice an average winter. A typical oil spill in water is usually skimmed, dispersed with chemicals, contained with booms or even burnt off. Similar methods could be used in frozen waters, but recovering the oil is severely complicated by the black goo floating under the ice - hidden from sight - which risks mixing with the crushed ice around an icebreaker trying to locate it.
As he speaks, engineers brave the mercury at minus 15 C to descend onto the ice, drilling holes to inject harmless red test liquid to mimic oil.
Hogstrom says the skimmer deployed from the rear of the vessel was capable of separating oil from ice, but more tests were needed to figure out how to use the icebreaker's propeller flows to suction the oil toward the skimmer. Finland has been developing this technology for 20 years, and a 2015 study by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers found the method being tested now to be one of the most suitable methods for mechanical recovery. Other technologies being developed elsewhere involve different types of skimmers to collect the oil. In the US and Canada, research has focused on burning off the oil in open water, but that can be difficult in densely packed ice. Environmental organizations like Greenpeace have expressed concerns about the elevated risks of Arctic ventures.
Anglo-Dutch oil group Shell abandoned its test drills in Alaska last September and Russia's Rosneft has put its own project in the Kara Sea on hold due to the plunging oil price, but Russian Gazprom Neft and Lukoil continue to drill in Russia's Arctic regions. The research comes amid debate over whether some of the birds flew across the border into Texas and should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. Parrots in US urban areas are just starting to draw attention from scientists because of their intelligence, resourcefulness and ability to adapt. Parrots are thriving today in cities from Los Angeles to Brownsville, Texas, while in the tropics and subtropics, a third of all parrot species are at risk of going extinct because of habitat loss and the pet trade.
Most are believed to have escaped from importers or smugglers over the past half-century, when tens of thousands of parrots were brought into the United States from Latin America.
After doing most of his research in places like Peru, Donald Brightsmith is concentrating on the squawking birds nesting in Washingtonian palms lining avenues and roosting in the oak trees in front lawns in South Texas. Brightsmith has received a two-year grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to get an official count on the state's red-crowned parrot population and determine whether threats against them are increasing. The loud, raucous birds have been shot at by angry homeowners and their young poached from nests. In San Diego, a $5,000 reward is being offered for information on the killings of about a half-dozen parrots found shot this year.
The research could help drive ways to maintain the population that prefers the cities and suburbs. Researchers want to someday study the gene pool to determine whether there are still genetically pure red-crowned parrots that could replenish the flocks in their native habitat. Biologists estimate the population at close to 1,000 birds in Texas and more than 2,500 in California, where they are the most common of more than a dozen parrot species.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2011 listed it as an indigenous species because it is thought the parrots flew north across the border as lowland areas in Mexico were cleared in the 1980s for ranching and agriculture, though ornithologists debate that. The US Fish and Wildlife Service that same year announced that the red-crowned parrot warranted federal protection because of habitat loss and poaching for the pet trade. Some in the pet trade fear that a listing under the Endangered Species Act could prevent them from breeding the birds and moving them across state lines. Conservationists question whether any of the birds are native to Texas and should be listed when there are so many species in need of protection in the United States.
Recently at her sprawling home-turned-sanctuary, dozens of birds were being nursed for broken bones and pellet gun wounds. Animal cruelty laws offer about the only protection for the birds in California, because they are not native to the state or migratory. Is that dot of a country called Uruguay in the process of becoming a media darling or what? There is the fact too, that Uruguay, the second-smallest country in South America, and with just 3.3 million people, happens to be one of its richest. As for wine, many in the industry in the country would no doubt argue that its best days lie ahead, and that was exemplified no better than by the opening of Bodega Garzon in March, a state-of-the-art winery owned by Argentina's richest man, Alejandro Bulgheroni, who also owns wineries and vineyards in his own country, Australia, France, Italy and the United States. It is not hard to understand why, when you stand in the winery casting your eyes over the lush, rolling countryside planted with grapes that stretch long into the distance.
Not far from the winery is Punta del Este, a stylish resort with top-name shops, restaurants, and a seaport dotted with yachts.
Even though Uruguay has become the fourth-largest winemaking country in South America behind Chile, Argentina and Brazil and ranks among the top 10 wine consuming countries in the world, its presence in China is negligible.
With the country's beautiful beaches, the vineyards have become a tourist draw for Westerners, who can also marvel at the country's vast ranches and the hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep which, apparently, outnumber humans five to one. The country's vinicultural claim to fame is its tannat grape, which produces wines characterized by elegant, soft tannins, and the industry that produces those wines has a century-old tradition rooted in immigrants from Europe, mainly of Basque and Italian origin. Present at Bodega Garzon's opening were the cream of South American society, who could not have been other than impressed with the gorgeous setting, the spanking new winemaking facilities and, of course, the premium wines produced in them. There are 5.24 square kilometers of vineyards divided into more than 1,150 individual blocks, following the vineyard's topography with its distinctive terroir of varying altitudes and exposures. In the property's north stands an elegant granite-based concrete building of 7,000 square meters, which visually blends in with the vineyard and houses, the wine-making facilities, storage and a restaurant and a club.
The man behind it all is the internationally renowned wine consultant Alberto Antonin, who has been involved with the project since 2008. Antonin, who has worked with some of the most prestigious wine companies in Australia, Europe and Latin American, enthuses about the geological and climatic aspects of the area that shape the character of its wines. These include the granite soil that has a special structure and composition that is good for natural drainage, the rolling hills and the exposure they provide, the biodiversity and the fact that the vineyard is just 18 kilometers from the ocean, bringing cool and clean breezes, he says. Because of all of this and the commitment of Bulgheroni and his family to Bodega Garzon, he says, he is confident that it will give the world wines that will be of the highest quality.
Although focusing on the tannat varietal, the plan is for the winery to work with many other varietals and clones, including, albarino, which is rare in the region.
As the vineyard endeavors to deliver the quality wines it is promising, it is also burnishing its environmental credentials, aiming to be what it says will be the first vineyard in the world to have top certification from the United States Green Building Council, taking into account design, construction, operation, and maintenance. The vineyard's managers say they are committed to sustainable agriculture and green farming, and aim being to achieve energy savings of about 40 percent compared with other similar facilities, and to produce 40 percent of its energy needs through mills and photovoltaic panels. State-of-the-art technologies are being used throughout the entire winemaking process, including an optical berry sorter that selects only grapes best suited to be fermented. The winery also uses concrete tanks instead of stainless steel, and ages wine predominantly in large casks rather than smaller barrels, as concrete favors the development and conservation of the native microbiology and microorganism, whereas wood enables the wine to breath.
The winery can produce 2 million liters of wine a year, and Brazil and the United States are, for the moment, its biggest markets.
The good news for Chinese wine drinkers is that the winery has begun distributing in the Chinese mainland, using the same importer it has used in Hong Kong, and will start with Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, Guangdong province, since mid-2016. The world's first Discovery Adventures Park has opened in a valley in Zhejiang's mountainous region, offering outdoor enthusiasts a comprehensive selection of survival and adventure skills programs as well as the chance to scale China's largest rock climbing wall.
Located in the Moganshan mountains in Deqing county, the park covers about 130,000 square meters and is the largest tourism complex in the area which is already a hotspot among local travelers thanks to a number of high-end designer boutique hostels. The county government is hoping this new park will become another famous landmark with which it can use to boost tourism, said Luo Guojian, director of the Standing Committee of Deqing County People's Congress, during the park's opening ceremony on April 26. The park's developer APAX Group is cooperating with Discovery Communications to provide an array of outdoor survival skills training programs such as wall climbing, zip-lining, all-terrain vehicle tours, mountain bike courses, hiking routes and obstacle challenges. Members of the international coaching team, engaged by the park and Discovery Communications together, hail from countries including China, the United States, Europe and Singapore. Chu says the market for outdoor adventure activities in China is still in a nascent stage, though potential is huge seeing as to how the country has a slew of exciting and scenic sites in second and third-tier cities that have yet to be developed. In 2015, the income generated by China's tourism industry grew about 12 percent and there were 4 billion people traveling within the country, according to a report released by the China Tourism Academy in Beijing earlier this year. Furthermore, investments in China's tourism industry have grown 42 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year. The second and third phases of the Moganshan park will cover about 1 million square meters in total and will feature more hotel rooms and facilities. Leading fashion designer Ma Yanli, also known as Mary Ma, says Chinese designers have no need to flaunt their Chinese origins in the clothes they produce. The 41-year-old former supermodel and actress says they should aim instead to be as individualistic as Western designers.
Ma, once described as China's answer to American model Cindy Crawford, was speaking at the Kerry Hotel in Beijing, ahead of the launch of her new clothing range that combines the simple look of a white blouse with blue jeans. I went to a workshop at Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, New York, and I had a few early morning hours dancing seemingly alone in the moonlight, which will stay with me. It was 4:00 am on that other morning, and I had slept soundly and felt rested and excited about the learning that was occurring in me, but I also felt completely alone.
This is the day I have set aside to explore my close surroundings before I head out on my Maui adventure activities for the next seven days. As I allow the disappointment to get as big and painful as it needs too, something happens that has happened many times in my life during difficult experiences.
During a recent trip to Maui, I rediscovered that beautiful child in the eyes of the aging woman Ia€™ve become.
For many years, I searched to be a better person, to become wiser, and to learn how to live a full and productive life, and to be admired.
Patience has been my work this year and Ia€™ve learned much about the difference between tolerance and patience. The voting was heavy and because most of us know each other in some way, our politics are often known. As Zacha€™s son-in-law returned to the inside of the voting precinct to witness the casting of Zacha€™s vote, he said two simple words: Thank you.
Later heading home, fatigue turned to laughter and memory recorded these shared emotional experiences of inspiration. The written word has often been the way spiritual messages have been received during my Life. The human survival instinct supports us in seeing what is there that needs to change or is threatening to us. Sometimes an old message said in a simple direct way can change the Life of the one who truly hears it. Since that time, I have written of the learning that came from my choice and consequently his choices.
As I was leaving the workshop, a young woman came up to me and asked me to share what meditation had meant in my life. My deepest longing is to love and be loved and yet fear can hold me back by expecting perfection.
Michael Singer wrote a book called The Untethered Soul, and it speaks of the way to let the personality desires play out while the Seer of what is transpiring watches without judging or clinging to an outcome. It has been some seventy-two hours since I began this essay and then stopped writing because I realized I was living in a huge story and could not write authentically from that place. It has been seven years since this small community called to me and embraced me within its furry mountains and quiet streams. During the last few weeks, I have begun to feel that my time here in this small community is limited. The rock in the creek feels cold against my warm skin in contrast to bike riding on this hot day. When he turns, his familiar face and eyes are beaming toward me as he explains that he is looking for the rock we used in meditation the last time we visited the creek. His love for me is visible in the steady gaze of his eyes, and it both comforts and frightens me.
It is late evening and Mark Nepoa€™s words speak to me; his writings have been an inspiration in many ways during the past few months. At first, the feeling is a bit overwhelming and tears flow as I remember Nepoa€™s request to include looking at the lighted candle as part of my meditation. It is spring again; forty-eight years have past and yet my memories of a small toddler are as vivid as every. It is good to remember the joy of him running across the yard, small frog in hand and joy in his face, panting as he recalls how challenging it was for him to catch it. He made the team, got a new girlfriend, went off to college, had much success, and oh so many friends. May the light in the eyes of our children remind us of the light that is possible in our own.
Mark Nepo is my author of choice the last few days, and his writing speaks to me in the silence of my being and I am changed by what I hear.
Those who have poor vision, those who have less than average senses of taste and smell, those who have physical difficulties, those who have hearing challenges, what do they have in common? My friend has learned to angle his head in a certain way that tells me he is listening carefully sometimes cupping his ear with his hand.
Recently Ia€™ve been seeing growing older as a limitation; an ache here, a gray hair there, a bit of fatigue at the end of the day, a need for a short rest more often, a wrinkle on the back of my hand, a need for glasses more often.
As the mother, the blind childa€™s face filled with wonder inspires me to see more clearly through her blindness. As the cherry blossom, I stand in the glow of the sun knowing that I add beauty and wonder to the earth and to its inhabitants.
Mark Nepo in his book, The Awakening, asked the questions: How am I different from others and how am I the same. In this silence, the wisdom of Lamotta€™s quote is known somewhere deep in the part of me that I share with all others. Each of us experiences death of our physical body, each of us grows physically from birth to death, each of us is capable of thought, each of us experiences the pain of physical life and the joys. I believe deep in our core of being, we are each a small piece of the Universe, and we have manifested into this unique physical form equipped with the tools and a gift we need to create our healing part of the collective. As I began to ride the bike, it seemed a bit big for my frame and often my back hurt after riding a long distance, so I chose to buy a new girla€™s bike.
Two days ago, a new friend suggested he would like to go biking with my group, but his bike needed repairing. On the ride back to the trailhead, my friend and I rode together; I shared that the bike had belonged to my son and he was the first to ride it besides me. A limiting beliefa€”just as it soundsa€”is having a thought about the past, present, or future that keeps you from seeing what is true in the moment you are living right now. This natural symbol of equality of day (light) and night (dark) is a reminder that light and dark are different not better or worse.
Equality is a slippery word in our culture and the term is often used to compare one thing, one thought, one person, and one event to another.
This search for meaning has brought me to this autumnal point, and to a knowing that equality is expressed within through an attitude of a€?non-judgmenta€? about what we can see, smell, hear, taste, and touch through our five senses. Recently in a difficult discussion with a male friend about equality between genders, I suggested that our older generation seems to have more difficulty with this deeper feeling of equality since our culture has encouraged stories about superiority vs.
This experience has supported me in looking closely within me to see where I discover feelings of inequality as a part of my physical existence. Observation of the equality of light and dark during this Fall Equinox reminds me that deep equality means no judgment or comparisons are needed. During the past few weeks, Ia€™ve spent time at the Wintergreen Nature Foundation as a volunteer. One particular Saturday, a call came that a baby rabbit had been very still in the garden for a long time and appeared injured. A few days later, I was the human contemplating the impermanence in nature and wondering what to do. Recently I met my daughter and her family to fulfill her wish to visit the two homes where she had been a baby. As I approached the door, I remembered my husband carrying me across the threshold; I remembered bringing my son and daughter home to the loving arms of an extended family that had arrived to celebrate their coming into Life. Unbelievably, the man and woman that had bought the house from us still lived there, and it felt wonderful that they had continued to add their love of the house to ours.
Neighbors dropped in yesterday and provided me with fun, friendship, and an unexpected sacred moment.
It was a balmy late spring day and the hydrangeas were in full bloom and served as a backdrop as we drank smoothies, ate rice chips and salsa, and enjoyed a glass of wine on my screened porch. We shared how important it is to avoid fearful story-telling about what is happening and to simply deal with what is happening right now in the present moment.
My friend is out of town and some part of me is pleased by the freedom that gives to me and I have an authentic knowing that he is doing what enriches his life. As I sit typing this, I realize that my day is my own creation and whether or not I act from a place of fear is all up to me. From some people the question triggers a feeling of annoyance within me, and I sometimes give them an answer like, a€?nothing special just the usual things or therea€™s always plenty to do.a€? It is more avoidance of responding from annoyance than an answer.
As I examined my feelings during these different experiences, I discovered the part of me that wants to be what the other person perceives me to be, a busy, active, interesting person. It is a reminder that I am not here to fulfill anyone elsea€™s expectations; I am here to find meaning and purpose for my own life. This morning I awaken to the gentle sound of rain, and I snuggle down into the nighta€™s accumulated warmth under my blankets. Again no thoughts come, just an incredible presence and knowing that in each moment there is beauty and nurturing for the soul for the taking.
If unused muscles and bones create a message to the brain that their dysfunction is normal until the imbalance creates pain, is that also true of emotional dysfunction?
The physical discomfort is in my second energy center, which I understand to be the energy center of creativity and belonging, and it is sending me a message. A few days ago, Eckhart Tollea€™s book, called The New Earth, was mentioned in a conversation with a friend, and I had a knowing that I wanted to reread it. In that moment, I began to look at my choices during the past few months and the intentions behind them. Tolle goes on to say that if you can neither enjoy or bring acceptance to what you doa€”stop.
In that moment, I chose to look into his clear blue eyes and said, a€?Hi.a€? He didna€™t look at me, but his eyes were alive with the joy and pure light of the incredible sun that rose through the window of the elevator. In gratitude, I left the elevator carrying the gift of pure light that had come to me from the sun through a young man that reflected it. I am the third generation follower of Bhagawan Baba as my grand mother (father's mother) was in Puttaparthi and she spent her old age days in Divine Presence. But her urban dreams are soon shattered as she is abducted by a group of people, taken to a village and sold to a family.
She returns to the same village to reunite with her baby boy, whose biological father is her former captor. Through the abducted woman's perspective, readers not only see the problems of the rural areas, but also the different aspects of village life. So all the characters in the novel are part of the village, and each person has his or her position on issues," says Liang. They try to find ways to communicate with the outside world such as by doing business, and even with Hu Die to reach a reconciliation," she says.
He started writing prose in 1965, and in 1992, he completed White Deer Plain, a novel based on the county annals of his hometown, Bailuyuan in Shaanxi. Half a century later, Putzmeister has become not only a global leader in concrete pump makers, but also the embodiment of the mittelstadt - Germany's small or medium-sized family-owned businesses with time-honored traditions, values and management practices (think Bosch and Trumpf). The German businessman was lambasted for "selling the German soul to the Chinese", while Sany was mocked as "a snake that swallowed an elephant". It would have been unreasonable for Putzmeister, which had been China's market leader since 1979, to compete with a new dominant force in the world's biggest market, he says. They saw eye to eye on a key issue - trust - and he empathizes with the humble roots of Liang Wengen, the founder of Sany, a backyard soldering stick maker turned billionaire entrepreneur. When you are successful at home, you want to go abroad to grow your businesses," Schlecht says, punching the air with his fist.
Years before the Sany deal, Schlecht, a self-taught philosopher, became fascinated with Confucianism, especially the notion of "Confucian entrepreneurship", which calls for applying ancient Chinese wisdom to business practice.
These are values he describes as the nuts and bolts of a global ethic for success, which he has championed. If old friends visit, he puts down his gardening tools to collect them at the airport in his black Mercedes.
He has inspired a new wave of young players who aim to match his career haul of 11 ranking titles. From Emperor Qinshihuang of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) onward, they have tried to uncover the recipe for immortality.
In that beautiful land full of springs, streams and picturesque mountains, Liu An gathered the best Taoist masters - eight of them - and started his search.
They didn't succeed, but what was left in the tripod was a pure, white jelly-like substance.
Doufunao literally means tofu brains while doufuhua is definitely more lyrical, translating as tofu flowers. In the south, the tender jelly is sweetened with syrups made from plain or brown sugar and flavored with ginger juice. Or they deep-fry bean curd so that its texture changes and then braise the entire block in a gravy made with soy sauce and sweet spices. It's deep-fried, served with pickled cabbage and sweet chili sauce, boldly advertising its presence through its lovely pungency. She is now a second-year art student in Shanxi province and works part time for 12 Buildings, a studio in Beijing. Among the 32-year-old's creations is a white cat, which he has since turned into a popular emoji. To express various levels of anguish, for example, WeChat users can share an animation of the white cat crying while laughing, sobbing in a pool of tears, or wailing while clapping its hands. In just a short while, she was producing work for instant-messaging tools like QQ and WeChat. The fox, which Xu created in high school, was among the first emojis made available on the QQ messenger in 2012.
During the Chinese New Year holiday in February, he topped the emoji charts as users rushed to send friends and relatives seasonal greetings.
However, he says China's animation industry lags behind those in the West and Japan, which have worldwide appeal. They hope a more masculine presence can have an effect, but it appears there is still some way to go. Plus, because of the one-child policy, many children have grown up without siblings and tend to lead sheltered lives. A post-80s generation artist, Yun graduated from the art department of Shenyang University, majoring in murals and frescoes, woodcarving and clay sculpture. Yun can lay claim to creating the split-carving technique, which allows him to compose a piece at scale while keeping the realistic details intact. He feels proud of what he has done but says it is far from enough, with hopes that such a precious cultural relic will be recognized and loved by more and more people. Now home to the iconic Tianzifang, the area is filled with numerous retail outlets, small snack shops, bars and cafes, most of which are occupied by tourists from other Chinese cities and abroad.


Today, it is just another tourist attraction, albeit a very famous one, that only has a faint glimpse of its artistic core.
Those who are in the area now are also planning to move out," says Yu, who recently led a team of students from Fudan University and Tongji University to conduct an in-depth survey on the current situation of Tianzifang, which is quickly losing its artistic soul to commercialization. Many men would smoke cigarettes and play poker on tables in the courtyard in the afternoon," says Zheng, who is widely regarded as "the father of Tianzifang". He leased out the 10,000-square-meter space occupied by the idle factories on a 20-year contract and moved the street market indoors. This was also the time when Huang Yongyu, another well-known painter, named the area "Tianzifang" as a tribute to an ancient Chinese painter of the same name. Galleries, cafes and boutiques have since opened like clockwork alongside old Shanghai homes, imbuing the area with a unique charm not seen before in the city. Calls were made for the place to be torn down to make way for high-rise shopping malls that were part of a real estate project by Taiwan's ASE Group. Formerly a slaughterhouse, the place is now home to several creative agencies and design studios.
But as time passed, I began to realize the importance of protecting the origins of the place," says Zhou. Middle-aged housewives carrying bags of vegetables would squeeze past expats sipping cappuccino at outdoor cafes. Between 2004 and 2008, as many as 6,000 people would walk along Taikang Road's crowded lanes on weekends.
He is now paying 40,000 yuan and said that the rent will exceed 60,000 yuan after his current contract expires in two years.
The place is now filled with more tourism-related items instead of original art works," says Yan, adding that he plans to move out of Tianzifang after fulfilling his rental contract despite his attachment to the area. It's no surprise that many talented artists are leaving the area," says Zhou Xinliang, the resident of Tianzifang. Over the past five years, retail outlets have steadily replaced the art studios and galleries, which now account for just 2 percent of the shops in Tianzifang. Though he said he does not think that this will lead to the demise of the place, he is concerned that it will eventually result in a change of appearance and the loss of its iconic architecture.
This is getting lost in the process of commercialization," she says, adding that she is very impressed with how the buildings in Tianzifang are preserved.
London's Victoria and Albert Museum has peeled back fashion's layers to expose everything from long johns to lingerie in Undressed, an exhibition tracing the hidden history of underwear.
For centuries, people have worn undergarments for practical reasons of protection, hygiene and comfort - but there has always been an element of sexuality and drama as well.
The show, which features more than 200 items made between 1750 and the present day, is dominated by women's undergarments: corsets and crinolines, stockings and shifts, chemises and stays.
More recent items include David Beckham boxer shorts and crotch-enhancing Aussiebum briefs.
There are 19th-century models with whalebone stays, a modern-day red and black rubber corset by House of Harlot, and one worn by burlesque artist Dita Von Teese with a wince-inducing 18-inch waist.
The exhibition traces the history of brassieres, from their development as "bust supporters" in the 1860s through their wide adoption in the early 20th century to the introduction of Lycra in the late 1950s. Ehrman says people have been revealing their undergarments since at least the 16th century.
In this exhibit, 110 years after the flight of '14 Bis', we want to show the young that using the imagination is a way of promoting discoveries," Gringo Caria, the curator of the exhibit, says. The world's first cafe using the tiny domestic unmanned aircraft as servers has opened in a Dutch university. There is also a growing realization that the city dwellers may offer a population that could help save certain species from extinction.
The last study in 1994 estimated the population at 3,000 to 6,500 birds, declining from more than 100,000 in the 1950s because of deforestation and raids on the nesting young to feed the pet trade.
Durham runs a parrot rescue center called SoCal Parrot in the town of Jamul, east of San Diego, and treats up to 100 birds a year.
Recently The New York Times listed one of its wineries as one of 52 must-visit places in the world this year, and a couple of years ago The Economist magazine bestowed on it the title of Country of the Year. The British magazine reasoned that if other countries cared to emulate some of Uruguay's accomplishments - it cited gay marriage and the legalization of the sale and consumption of cannabis - the world might be a better place. While Uruguay has much to boast about to its much larger South American cousins, there are at least two fields in which it struggles to come up to muster: football and wine.
It is that winery that had The New York Times gushing as it drew up its top-places-to-visit list. The winery is located in Garzon, a small town near the southeastern coast about 180 kilometers from the capital, Montevideo, where about half the country's population live. This is all part of Agroland, a sustainable agriculture business of 100 square kilometers where cattle are reared and almonds, honey, pecans and extra-virgin olive oil are produced. The glue that holds all that together, apart from the superb scenery, is modern architecture such as transparent glass walls from ceiling to floor with plush, stylish fittings and furniture. Now we want to do something new like survival training, to give people some unique challenge experience," says Nicolas Bonard, senior VP of Discovery Global Enterprises. The businesses that cater to outdoor activities, such as garments, shoes and bags, are booming, but many people just don't know how to use them correctly. This data will also be vital in better understanding people's interests and safety standards, especially for the Chinese market," Chu says. Of course, designers reflect their personal influences and some of these may involve Chinese characteristics, but this is not what it should be about," she says.
It was so incredible that I tried to write about it, because it was the perfect topic for an essay.
My room was a dorm room about seven-feet square, and I shared a bath with several men and women in similar rooms. I welcomed their company and the aloneness that I felt seemed to lift with the sound and movements of our Moon Dance. Life was hidden in the shadows and difficult to see, but it had completely surrounded me as I danced. It is a dark starless night, the rain slashes against the window, the winds howl with 50 miles an hour gusts. It is morning, a light rain continues, the winds are not as strong and yet the bamboo grove sways and sweeps the ground.
The week continued to have some misadventures and some spectacular adventures and the courageous and joyous parts of me lived them fully. So as this year ends, the compassionate patience I feel for myself fills my heart and it is soft with love; a love that has always been close at hand and seemingly just out of my reach. The voters are old friends, new friends, community workers, casual acquaintances, and families coming together to express their preferences through voting. As the voting lines formed for this election, we stood together only as neighborsa€”rich and not so rich, young and not so young, extraverted and not so extraverted, highly educated and not so highly educated, multi-raced, blue voters and red votersa€”without malice or ill intent. She was adorable in her winter hat pulled down over her ears; it brought attention to her laughing eyes. He looked concerned and said to me, My father-in-law is out in my truck; he is 85 and hea€™s had a medical procedure today and wea€™ve been with the doctors. It was an unforgettable moment; we hugged and thanked each other for making it possible for Zach to vote. Since saying a€?yesa€? is the first rule of improv, the message didna€™t seem new at first. The need for control is strong so supporting someone elsea€™s ideas or interests each moment seems difficult at times. This one has certainly changed the content of my last two days, and the intention to expand the experiment is exciting and feels like a spiritual loving act. As I sat on my deck looking out over the city, the leaves of fall were turning the world into bright hues of red, orange, and brown.
I felt reluctant, but I had had some physical limitations during the last year that had been difficult to accept and meditation had really supported my healing.
Mostly it happens when a small activity of the day seems more difficult than I judge it should be. Without being sure of outcomes or things unseen, this is my opportunity to act without attachment and with the joy of what I will learn from the experiences my actions create. It was a time of change from working long hours to going inward to discover what was left to uncover within me. The withdrawal I needed and the healing it has brought to me has completed this phase of my life.
The need for expansion comes from an internal voice that says explore, experiment, and do not become complacent. When the time and move is right, something within my spirit will say, a€?Get crackin.a€? The patience to wait for that insight has come as a part of the growth Ia€™ve found in this small blue house on top of a hill surrounded by mountains.
He agreed to run away for a day to escape the heat and discomfort brought on by a loss of electrical power in our homes even though his electricity had returned. This evening he invites me to light a candle, to close my eyes, to reopen my eyes, and to see each thing before me. I stood in wonder at this amazing child so full of life and uninhibited yearning to have a good time and accomplish what he set out to do. He wanted to have the biggest paper route and he wanted to make the most sales at his part-time job. Academics didna€™t seem to be his focus, but he seemed to relish his relationships and became the life of the party and the favorite student to his teachers. Now his spirit of aliveness lives in me and the memory of his voice reminds me that Life in this physical realm is short and that what we create here lives forever within those we have truly touched. Today in the quietness that is The Wintergreen Nature Foundation on some Wednesday mornings, my clarity about what I was to learn came. His voice stills my mind, brings me to the present, and opens my heart to listen not to the words but to the message his words point too. What Ia€™ve noticed is that they look more closely, eat more slowly, move more deliberately, and listen intently to others.
A young blind childa€™s face radiates the sun in his eyes as he turns his face up to feel the warmth.
So today, Ia€™m altering my thoughts about limitations and seeing opportunities everywhere.
I am sometimes impatient, but Ia€™m learning to accommodate his need for being on my right side to hear more clearly.
Then he issued an invitation to sit in silence with eyes closed and contemplate these questions.
We are here together at this time, in this place, and in this specific body to understand that the essence of all Life exists in each of us humans and in all living matter. If we examined each Life, it would not be what happens to us that would be different for pain and joy comes to everyone; it would be how we respond to what happens to us that has created our unique experience of our individual Life.
Another woman loses a child and creates a charity in its name and supports the lives of many children.
To live well is to choose to grow into what we are most capable of being and be grateful for the uniqueness of the Life. I am a personality in a physical body with the power of logic and thought as is everyone else. Two years ago it was refurbished with new tires, new horns on the handlebars, and had been given a good checkup so it could be used for riding with my new bike group. Without hesitation, I offered the unused bike in the garage, and I felt my heart open to the possibility that the bike would finally be used.
Perhaps you awaken from a long nighta€™s sleep and have the thought that you are tired; but are you really tired or just not quite alert as yet? They were planted by the property owner in the early 1900s and seem to be a symbol of welcome outside the front door of an ancient majestic medieval stone castle.
To quote Wikipedia: a€¦the Sun is at one of two opposite points on the celestial sphere where the celestial equator and ecliptic intersect. Who could argue that day and night have distinct powers to aid in the Life upon planet Earth? In my youth the expression, a€?all men are created equal,a€? stirred many thoughts of disbelief in my mind: Does that include women, does that mean skill level, does that mean talent, does that mean appearance, does that meana€¦on and on?
It is a deeper understanding that the Universal energy dynamic of which we are a part is without judgment. If there is a value judgment placed by me on what I see, it is sure to mean that I do not see myself as equala€”it could be a feeling of doing better or of a feeling of doing less, of being stronger or of being weaker, in control or not in control. To honor what each contributes with no value judgment added supports my intention to appreciate all that a€?isa€? because it a€?is.a€? If Ia€™m walking on eggshells, stomping heavily through a room, or withdrawing my love in a reaction to another to gain acceptance or power, it will be my challenge to ask why I do not feel equal in this moment without demanding an immediate answer.
It is summer and the calls to rescue injured or troubled animals and people come in quite often. The caller stated that hawks were circling and it wouldna€™t be long before the rabbit could not be saved.
What happens are visions of past experiences, people, and places that are pictures in the minda€™s album.
They had added gardens, doors, patios, waterfalls, fireplace, and fisha€”just to mention a few of their creations. It is challenging to accurately describe a sacred moment and the power it contains, so Ia€™ll start slowly from the beginning. I can feel within me the need to know who is the night raider and how can I change what is happening in order to have my world be as I choose it to be.
For some reason, I have doubt about whether that person is capable of caring about me just as I am in this moment. The birds are chirping in the trees, the squirrels are trying to get into the bird feeders, the breeze is moving the leaves, the raindrops are collecting on the deck, and the mountains stand observing it all. There is no thinking only comfort and presence; it is as if I am one with my feelings and it feels like what I believe peace to be. Ia€™ve felt that my body is trying to tell me something so each morning Ia€™ve asked the question: a€?What do I need to know that I do not want to know?a€? Without requiring an answer, Ia€™ve continued to just be open to learning. As I began, I felt I was reading it for the friend to support him in his relationship with someone he loves; but as I began to read, I knew the booka€™s message would bring me the understanding of what I needed to know that I was resisting unconsciously. My intention is to have compassion for the part of me that feels I need all the answers to lifea€™s questions now. I dona€™t know what it is I am not aware of in this moment, but I am fully aware that I am enjoying the quietness of it.
The elevator door opened and a middle-aged woman entered pushing a teenage boy in a wheelchair. He wasna€™t concerned that it was crowded or that too many obstacles were in the way of what he wanted. Before the marriage, the man held her hand, walked with her, opened theA door for her, called her on the telephone, wrote her romantic notes, sent her flowers, and took herA to dinner. Swami used to call her as 'Palamoor Kistamma'.My mother received the black and white photo shown in the above image from our beloved Bhagawan when I was 5 years old and we have the same in our pooja room in Hyderabad and more actively worked in the Organisation from 1976 onwards when I received one week Sevadal Training (conducted by Shivam-Hyderabad) in my place Kollapur-Mahabubnagar District. Raped by Hei Liang, a member of that family, she lives through her troubles until her mother rescues her with the help of police and a reporter.
It tells of changes to the land over 50 years from the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Evenings find him helping his wife, Brigitte, make his favorite Swabian noodles or pizza before he retreats to his home office to "fantasize" about new projects.
From behind the wheel, the silver-haired Swabian then doubles as an animated tour guide to the picturesque Neckar Valley, his childhood home. Barry Hearn, the chairman of World Snooker, says the Chinese government is pouring investment into sport, which will help the country dominate not only snooker, but also other sports within 10 to 15 years. In the face of increasing globalization, food is also one of the last strong visages of community and culture.
A fresh collection of 16 Budding Pop emojis released on March 12 was downloaded 4 million times within 24 hours. In 2005, Yun started his fruit pit carving career, and in 2007 he founded his workshop, Yiren Hequ, attracting many young artists to pit carving. As an artist, you need to devote your feelings, explore your innovative techniques, and commit, he says. Yun has done his part: creating the next generation of fruit pit carvers with the same dream. You choose and you program it like you want," student and project leader Tessie Hartjes says.
The magazine also referred to the country's laid-back president, who, it seems, lives in a very simple house and drives a VW Beetle.
In the case of the former, the country's best days seem to be behind it, its having won the World Cup decades ago, but struggling to match it with the best these days. Under each tree and beneath each bush, there seemed to be an aurora of light that painted a distorted picture of each bush upon the ground below. I turned to head back to the dorm, a little wet, a little cold, and covered with the glow of Moon Dancing with my Shadows. 50 mile an hour gusts of wind in Virginia would encourage me to hunker down for protection. The disappointment is strong and yet I can take a small step toward the bathroom and get dressed. As I compared the pictures of me as a child and me as a grown woman, I finally could see my own beauty and it made me laugh with joy. As the New Year begins, my heart is open and I look forward to the experiences I will create. As a poll worker, the day was long, warm inside, cold outside, enjoyable, inspiring, and at times emotional. He is immobile at the moment and concerned because he has never missed an election since he began to vote. Sometimes it is before an experience and during the experience the words start ringing in my ears.
As we began to practice creating scenes, it was immediately clear that it was easier for me to say a€?yes, buta€? and it was equally clear that doing so blocked the scene from expanding.
Acceptance of a€?what isa€? can be challenging and this simple idea of energetically saying, a€?yes, anda€? has given me clarity about my own negative or judgmental views as Ia€™ve gone through my day. The experiment itself has supported me in living more fully in the present, which is, of course, the only place we can live fully. My heart seemed to stop breathing, my throat was tightly constricted, and the top of my head felt as if it would fly into the trees so great was the pressure. His choices were courageous; his experiences were dramatic examples of how to live and not to live for those who watched his progress. It could be loading bikes on a rack, spilling milk in my new car, lateness of a friend, hot when I want it to be cool, or appreciation not shown. The deep longing for companionship thwarted by my fear of losing independence is simple but complex within my thoughts about what to allow and what not to allow into my world. Ia€™ve been living at least for the past few day in a story of my own making about what others want me to do, how they want me to live, or what they need from me. Recently a friend was talking about his experiences and how excited he was about his hopes and dreams for the future; I recognized them as both different and similar to my own. It has been amazing and comfortable and productive in a different way than accomplishing projects.
Last night as I looked around during a concert on the mountain, I saw the same people I see almost daily. It isna€™t dissatisfaction with what is; its more a wonderment of what other experiences and growth are possible for me. There is a joyful feeling of contentment as the warm air circles close in and sweat runs down my back. Joy has not always come to me with ease, as my human need to protect myself and those I love is well practiced and vigilant at times. He talks about a concept in a book we are sharing and wonders if hea€™s got it right; if he has understood it. He encourages me to ask myself how the things Ia€™m seeing are different and how they are the same and listen to my heart speak. It is orange and ita€™s light is a lacy hue; two triangles extending from ita€™s center one reaches toward me and the other away from me.
What an awesome experience to see the love of a husband and a father reflected in the toothless grin of a new life. Memories of his birth and death have supported me in finding this place where I intend to live with compassion for others and myself and with a love of Life every day and every minute. I cannot change it, but I can surrender to a€?what isa€? in each moment in order to respond from the healthiest part of me rather than to fearfully react. This habit has triggered in me a new perspective about what I see as limitation and opportunity.
Today that message is to consider every limitation as an opportunity and to be opened to what is most important to learn in each moment.
The woman in a wheel chair demonstrates patience as she waits to enter through a revolving door. I now move slowly enough in the morning to watch a cardinal land on the bird-feeder, my glasses magnify the beauty of the gifts that fill my home, my aches encourage me to stretch and care for my body and to find the wisdom to rest when rest is needed. My nose will tell me of ita€™s fragrance, my touch will tell me of its softness, but only through my mothera€™s tone and voice will I know what that fragrance and softness belongs too. As I carefully describe what Ia€™m seeing, my gift to this unseeing child supports me being present enough to fully see it myself; and this level of awareness is the childa€™s gift to me. As the child, as the mother, or as the cherry blossom, my purpose is simply to live my best life and to grow.
The manifestation of that essential Life we have brought into being takes many physical forms; all different, all unique. All of these things have resulted in my becoming the a€?soul in a bodya€? that I see in my mirror this morning. If in this Life, we do not become conscious of the power of the collective Life of the Universe, we will be given another chance. To make that possible, I pulled it out, pumped up the tires, admired ita€™s beauty, and my heart felt lighter. As we remounted and rode on, the bike was a€?just another bikea€? racing to the song of the fall breeze. Perhaps you look in the mirror and think that you are getting older and no longer beautiful; yes you are getting older, but aging has ita€™s own beauty. The ability to bring awareness to the harsh, dramatic, judgmental, and repetitive sounds within our minds contains the freedom we think is not open to us. These points of intersection are called equinoctial points: classically, the vernal point and the autumnal point. So to carry the a€?Pointa€? into an individual Life, who could argue that pleasant (light) experiences are better or worse than difficult (dark) experiences since every experience has the potential for learning by the being that experiences it. Like the similar times of day and night in this season, we are connected by individual and collective purposes with an equal opportunity to live our best lives. As I was hearing the story, it occurred to me that we saved the rabbit or deprived the hawk of its meal. It is a beautiful spot and it was early evening as the light played its songs upon the angles of the rocks and crevices as we watched. Today if someone walks along the same path we took, there will be no hint of what occurred between the snake and the frog. Going back there did not necessarily appeal to me either since my relationship to my former husband and her Dad had become faded memories of love and pain. As often happens with this friend, the discussion turned to nature and bird songs in particular. It was quickly replaced with a look of acceptance of what was now occurring as she described her coming treatment. Ia€™m grateful for the awareness of this part of me that continues to need challenging if I am to be at peace with what is in this moment.
How do I challenge the part of me that judges his actions and wants him to be different so that I can be happy?
That feels nurturing and I can feel my heart open as I consider the possibility that life is an illusion created by my thoughts, and I can choose which thoughts I will give my energy too.
For others, I just say something like, a€?planning a quiet day.a€? That answer feels authentic and supportive of the way I want to live my life. For sure, I am an active person with a wide variety of interests, but sometimes I enjoy a€?Beinga€? in my home. Today I have set an intention to answer the question, what are you doing today, with authenticity no matter who is asking. As the morning unfolds, the feeling of hunger comes and without questioning it, I stretch, arise, and move to my robe. Without thinking, there is a deep knowing that I am not a separate entity seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling this moment, but an integral part of it and without my energy and presence it would be different.
She said that I was flexible in my hips and so compensated there for the lack of flexibility in the last vertebra of my back.
I begin to remember the times in my life when I have felt emotional pain and have chosen to override it with thinking. Also this week, Ia€™ve felt the need to remain quiet while reflecting with more stillness than is my normal pattern. This morning I read Tollea€™s words I needed to hear: If you are not in the state of either acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm, look closely and you will find that you are creating suffering for yourself and others. I will ask for guidance to accept what is happening in the moment without adding drama and fearful thoughts or intelligent explanations. I felt impatient with the loss of time and the people that swirled around in the garage seemingly in my way.
He seemed challenged both mentally and physically, and my reaction was to look away so that his mom would not feel I was staring at the young boy. He wasna€™t complaining internally, he wasna€™t judging others; he was without fear and was gazing in awe at the light. One of the first priorities of the work was a complete examination of all previous exploration and excavation in the precinct, particularly that of Margaret Benson carried out in 1895-7. After one week training in various wings of the Organisation, exams were conducted and I got First Prize in Spirituality and received Three Books from Sri BV Ramana Rao, then State Sevadal Convener of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation-Andhra Pradesh. It declined in the mid-19th century, but the art is back in force in places like Suzhou, Weifang, Guangdong and Liaoning.
My feet picked up speed, my fear lessened, and I began to explore the light that broke the shadows. The lake lay in stillness and hovering above it was a wall of mist, kind of stringy, but not transparent; and above all that, hung the moon spreading its final visible glow before dawn arrived with the sunrise.
Outside the window, the lily pond beyond the deck is beautiful, the deck is wet and shiny, and the door slightly open lets in a pure and sweet freshness.
I can take a small step toward my car and drive the dirt road to the main road; and if the wind is too strong, I can return to this rugged North shore bamboo farm and make the best of it. As I gazed at the photo of the beautiful child holding the doll, I remembered that feeling of love; my heart was soft and full. The beauty had nothing to do with the physical features displayed in the photos; it was the radiance that traveled from my heart through my eyes and took in the world around them. Let me tell you why inspiring and emotional experiences were my companions on this day in small-town America. We kissed each other, hugged each other, waved to each other, talked with each other, supported each other, and laughed and yes cried with each other.
I focused on these positives as we supported him in whatever healing was possible, and eventually, supported him as his alcohol-damaged body died. As she led us in meditation, I felt the deep pain of powerlessness again, and again I invited it to get as big as it could. When Ia€™m in that centered place what happens outside me is like a movie and I can watch my personality, the actor, think and plan and wish without attachment.
It is all a a€?Storya€? from the part of me that loves stories and the justification they give for me to be less than open and less than loving. As we parted, I heard myself say to him, looks like youa€™re on it and Ia€™m just standing beside it. It has been exciting, it has been challenging, it has been peaceful, it has been stimulating; and mostly, it has been healing. Ia€™ve come to look forward to their presence and the feeling of security and safety they trigger within me. Change for many is difficult, but for me the newness of change is invigorating and stimulating.
Expansion now calls and the excitement of just what that will entail lifts my energy and makes me want to sing.
In my view as I watch the water run over the rocks, he stands with his back to me looking into the creek. His open heart is almost always constant even when he is confused or slightly annoyed with his surrounding world.
As we danced I asked him, a€?What was the best thing about today?a€? And, without waiting for his answer, I laughed and said, a€?Everything.a€? He laughed out loud with complete delight and agreed. I listen to his expressed doubt and somewhat confused words, and have a knowing that he understands it perfectly. We are many flames from the same candle, and yet, just one light; apart we are a flicker but together we make a luminous Life.
The memory fills my heart and I see a vision of him in a jaunty Easter hat and sports jacket toddling up the small hill in front of my house; two steps forward and one step back and finally falling and rolling to the bottom only to rise again and begin again with laughter and determination.
In those magical days, he marveled at the beauties of the life of which he found himself a part be they giant mountains, rock music, or the smallest of butterflies. In time he began to drink alcohol to lessen the pain of the world not always being as he wanted. It is my full responsibility to live with presence and courage and to grow into the person I am called to be. This act of responsible choice and the intent behind it becomes the vehicle of my creation and the consequence it brings. It has been a life-long habit to observe closely human behavior and sometimes to judge or to give value to what I see; that is changing. They are aware that the opportunity to connect must be given their full attention and they have learned how to do that. The man whose taste and smell is not so acute takes two bites before he makes his choice of what to eat. The veins and wrinkles on the back of my hand remind me that Ia€™m dehydrated and need to drink more water today. I hear from her there are five petals close together in almost a circle; and where the petals attach in the middle of the cherry blossom, it is a deeper shade of pink that grows almost to white at the petalsa€™ edges.
This delicate flower filled with color and shadow created by the warm and nurturing sun comes alive in my being and is energetically past to this curious and loving child. My heart called me to the computer to put down my feelings, and I became distracted by email for a moment. Each of us makes choices that create our life day-to-day, hour-to-hour, moment-to-moment, and those choices add up to a Life unlike any other. The experiences were the same; the creation process of what remained in each of them became very different.
If I stood in a long line of people, those who know me would recognize me even though we all have two eyes, two arms, two legs, one nose, and one mouth. For this Life, in this place, I have a knowing that the Life I have created has supported the Lives of others and me. The answer for me is in what I choose to give my attention and time too; with a conscious intention to live my life fully not someone elsea€™s, just mine. He had bought the bike as transportation when he lost his drivera€™s license because of a drunk driving charge. Later we loaded the bike into his SUV, and I felt as feathery light as the evening air rushing across my skin.
No memories flooded me for I was in the moment, and this moment was another level of healing I had not expected. You see a friend walking and think she really wants to walk alone; but in reality when you join her on the walk she is welcoming and the walk enriches you both. In each moment, we can step back from a belief and ask one simple question: Does this thought or belief serve to expand my Life or limit my life?
Since being human with the power of our minds to create stories around our experiences, it is often easier to live in an imaginary story of what happened and how we should react than to see that how we respond to an experience in this moment creates the suffering or not. Growing and aging brought new a€?judgmentsa€? about equality and how to discover what equality really meansa€”not to others, but to me.
It is not always easy to carry that deep sense of equality into our relationships for we are indeed spiritual beings in physical human forms with old patterns of reactions and judgments. The rejoicing of anothera€™s strength or my own cannot diminish or inflate my feelings about either if I am without judgment of that persona€™s or my own value as a result. It was peaceful and awe inspiring to see the effects the water has played and still plays upon the landscape as it all shifts and changes imperceptibly. But there we were in front of a house that I had come to as a bride, altered it with the support of my dad and husband to accommodate our familya€”a house in which I had brought my children, and where I laughed and cried and planned the perfect future. I thought of a day when the world was perfect because we were exhausted together and happy. The small trees that we had planted cast some shade now, and the flowers his wife had planted added color all around them. My friend had started them from her plants, and her husband had traveled along with her to deliver them to me and to share a few moments of time. So she and I pulled out my IPad to compare what we were hearing in my yard with the Audubon recorded bird-songs. I looked at her husband and there I saw a deep pain quickly replaced with an expression of deep love for this woman with which he has shared many years. Only then can I make a responsible choice to support the life I want with the consequences that come from making choices within the presence of acceptance. This is not a new conflict; the difference is that I am aware of the thoughts and feelings within this dynamic that create circumstances I do not wish to occur.
I alone am responsible for the experiences I create and it is those experiences that enrich my life if I choose. Of course, routine chores like making a bed, fixing food, doing dishes, caring for my home are always needed, but this question seems to be about something more. Ia€™m reading, Ia€™m writing, Ia€™m thinking, Ia€™m dreaming, Ia€™m questioning, Ia€™m answering, but more than anything else Ia€™m simply being here now doing this and it nurtures my life.
Sometimes I will be playing golf or tennis, rushing around running a project, working to beautify my yard; but sometimes Ia€™ll simply be choosing to a€?Bea€? and for me that will be enough. The rain is, the fruit is, the wood is, the carpet is, the chair is, the joy garden is, Jon Kabat-Zinn is, the peace is, and I am.
She said that when some part of the body is not used, the brain notices and will see the lack of movement as a€?normal.a€? She said the unused area becomes more and more unbalanced and eventually creates pain in the body.
Ia€™ve told myself that life is difficult sometimes and have moved on without giving the pain its due course and attention.
As I sit with that question and just relax into the moment, I feel certain that if I remain open the question will be answered; not by the intellect, but by something deeper inside me that guides my life if I choose to listen.
The light from the sun had entered his eyes and body completely and radiated outward toward anyone who chose to look. These men begin to act as if they haveA forgotten how to show their brides the tenderness to which they had grown accustomed.
But from what I had written, the reader would most certainly understand the essence of my experience.
This time when movement caught my senses, I saw on the side of the Main Hall at Omega two shadows.
As I glanced up, I noticed that the stars were vanishing from the sky and the moon had moved toward the lake so I let my feet dance after it. If I could remember to challenge my fearful thoughts, Moon Dancing would always be possible. Doubts about whether I should be here alone nag me and breathing deeply doesna€™t seem to help. Many times Ia€™ve experienced that feeling over the years: when I married my new husband, when each of my children were borne, when a bond of female friendship was revealed to me, when I gave unconditional love to an amazing yet flawed man, when I held my grandsons the first time, when I witnessed my son-in-lawa€™s tears at a grave site, and so many moments in nature. Many times the circumstances of life and my thoughts about them hid my beauty from me, and I could not believe others even when they shared their love and compassion for me.
May I remember to look deeply into my own eyes to find love and then freely give it away to others. She literally danced to the voting booth and then out; waving and glowing as she left the precinct.
The voice in my head was still, the polling precinct was quiet, and the room filled with the light of choice I had been witnessing all day.
Of course, there are times when I have to say no to someone, and what Ia€™ve found is that even that is easier when I say yes to what is transpiring in the moment and then expand the conversation or activity to make my point or acknowledge someone elsea€™s need.
But inside me deeper than even I imagined was a sense of sadness and powerlessness to change the drinking habits of my 37-year-old son. When I could bare it no longer, it vanished and was replaced with a deep stillness of peace.
My overall intention for my life is to love well, and of late, that seems more difficult than it has for the recent past years.
It protects me and not in a way that is creative; it prevents me from living each moment as it is with an intention to hear the quiet voice that wisely guides my Life. Then from deep inside me came that still small voice, that is not the Phyllis I know; I recognized the voice as me and not me. It is a song of healing and caring for this person I am and the growing Being that awaits me with my next choice and adventure.
It does not; so I reach my hand toward it and it appears as if the light is resting upon my hand. All these objects, all those Ia€™ve loved, and all those who have loved me are part of this one light.
I may need to remain silent.A I may need to speak aloud about something that is bothering me about whata€™s happening.
It is with gratitude that I accept all the parts of mea€”the difficult and the pleasanta€”and quietly surrender to the learning that my experience offers in this moment, and the next, and the next.
Now more often I observe not to give value but to learn and to appreciate the insight that observing brings to me about me.
As my hair grows and the gray is more visible, Ia€™m reminded of what a long and remarkably healthy life I have and the freedom that brings. From the middle of the deep pink rise varying lengths of stamens with small orangey-pink, round fluffy dots at each of their tips. My heart aches with gratitude for this small being whose blindness first filled me with sadness; but now has added a measure of being alive that could not have been possible without what I once considered to be her handicap. There in the emails I read: We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. They may remark that I look like someone else, but if they truly know me, they know that I am like no one else. When it came off the moving van five years ago, it went into the corner of the garage, because I was still not ready to let go of the memory of the healing I thought it would bring to my son. It sat and sat, and I would see it with a flood of emotions triggered by the healing and loss it represented.
We stopped again to sit by the river; all I felt was deep gratitude for all the extraordinary experiences of this Life lived fully.
Perhaps the thought is that living alone is not as enriching as living as a couple, but the amount of freedom that comes with living alone is amazing. It takes a deep intention to look inside us and see those patterns, take a second look, and remind ourselves they are imaginary stories we have created to feel okay in this particular incarnation and perhaps others. Since the evolutionary process of physical a€?survival of the fittest,a€? has taught me to judge whether or not I am safe when with another, this approach to Life is challenging and yet interesting and exciting to me. Only the man, the boy, my friend and I will really know the changes created within us from these experiences.
We took smiling pictures with a camera to add to our real photo albums of course, and we spoke of the skill and time that each family had given to this beautiful modest home. As I watched them drive away, I knew this strong, courageous couple was focusing their attention on accepting and living Life fully in each moment, and I was grateful that they were part of mine! Simultaneously, I feel a€?less thana€? because Ia€™m choosing not to do something a€?importanta€? and a€?more thana€? because I feel at some level the other person isna€™t capable of understanding that need.
Sliding my feet along the carpet, the harder surface of my wood floor is recognized at the doorway. She continues my therapy and she comments that my pelvic area begins to move a little, but I cana€™t seem to feel it. Have I, therefore, sent a message to my intellect to override this pain and continue to function. I will not seek the answer in my mind, but I will relax into the present and observe what comes to me. It has felt really good and freeing, but Ia€™ve also had this voice in my head that says, a€?Whata€™s wrong with you?a€? I watched the thought come and go and remained quiet, peaceful, and still.
I will look at my activities one by one to see if there is a second agenda lurking in the shadow of my fearful ego.
As the elevator door opened, I said to his Mom that I believed he was enjoying the sunshine.
A thirty year old semi-invalid of a distinguished English family, she had the rare good luck to ask for the concession to a site that seemed unimportant and a site that no one else wanted.
As a resultA of this change in behavior in their new husbands, young brides often feel disappointed, let down,A and deceived.
During the remainder of the week there, I edited the essay several times and eventually it morphed into a short surreal poem.
As I gazed out into the darkness, I had the urge to take a walk, but felt frightened that I would be walking in an unfamiliar place in that darkness, and it might not be wise. As I entered the garden, it was a cascade of silence punctuated with the crunching sounds of my footsteps upon the path.
I remembered one of my favorite childhood poems, a€?I Have A Little Shadow That Goes In and Out With Me.a€? I remembered how much I loved giving it to my grandchildren! I hummed a€?Que Sa Ra Sa Ra, what ever will be will be,a€? all the way back to the dorm and into the shower. The curious part of me whispers, a€?go out and take a few photos.a€? So dressed in my robe and slippers with camera in tow, my hands slide back the door, and I venture out. As I said a€?yes, anda€? to what she had to say, the profound lesson came that what she was saying would be an amazing way to not only do improv, it would change a life from a negative focus to a positive one. Over the years, my daughter and I, had pleaded, threatened, and prayed for him to give up drinking.
He was free and it was spring one year and four months after his first healthy choice in a very long time. The last few years have been filled with the joy of living and remembering his life and what it brought to mine. Do this, dona€™t do that, go here, stay there, love this, mistrust that; the mind chatter is overwhelming in these moments.
So when discontent of the kind Ia€™ve been experiencing of late is present within me, it puzzles me as to what Ia€™m to learn this time. One of me is the movie my personality creates with thinking, assessing, resisting, and this me was the Seer who watches in loving amazement at times. There was a time in the past when this need would cause me to question a€?who I am,a€? and a€?why am I like this;a€? now it feels warm with acceptance like the return of an absent and beloved friend.
This slow to respond, slow to move, slow to show emotion man has a great capacity for deep joy that I admire. He wanted to hear his music uninterrupted and spit on his sister when she came into his room to chat. These moments of choice step-by-step and consequence-by-consequence truly become the Life I experience. This year as I focus on creating more humility through patience, the experiences that I a€?m creating through what Ia€™ve viewed up to now as limitations are supporting me in doing just that.


Her words say that the stamens are the pollen-bearing male part of this delicate precious flower. She never considered herself handicapped, and her acceptance has brought me bravery and added awareness that life is created by the choice to live with a€?what isa€? with courage.
This quote by Anne Lamott brought me back to my intention to explore Nepoa€™s original questions.
Another man loses his job and decides to create a different way of living and becomes a role model for others. We are a soul having a physical experience that has the opportunity to contribute to the healing of all living beings. In the peaceful stillness, I closed my eyes and let the gurgle of the racing river wash through me as the sun shared its warmth. Perhaps your belief is that your children should behave differently, but then you see them blossom into their own lives that are very different from what you imagined. If the answer is limits, look at it and let it go for it does not serve your Life or anyonea€™s. With closer observation of the direction of the winds and of the angles of the sun, it becomes clear that the one that seems to be leaning-in has twisted, has transformed, and has become deeply rooted thereby protecting the other from the elements.
Our patterned reaction may not be the healthiest response in this moment, and if it is not, it may be wise to make a different choice. It was clear to me that as a male, he had automatically assumed that the woman in his relationship had to have been weaker or less assertive for inequality to exist. Later a call came that a skunk, which appeared to have a broken leg, was outside the restaurant by the golf course. Life is by definition impermanent and the cultivation of acceptance has been my yearlong intention since Winter Solstice of last year. I remembered a summer of disruption as Dad added the addition and my son walked in the foundation ditches and later put nails into the exposed electrical outlets.
In that moment of presence, their togetherness seemed all that truly mattered, and I was touched by their love for each other.
No one knows in Life what will come next, living in this present moment is where we find our power.
Ia€™ve watched the French Open and seen the victory there as a moment in time that is relevant only to the lives involved.
She says thata€™s okay because the movement is subtle, but necessary to maintain the health of the back and ultimately the nerve in that area. I will trust the Universal force to support me in my learning and relax into the pain, feel it deeply in the moment; I will no longer resist the discomfort, but welcome it in with whatever message it brings. Ia€™ve read, baked cookies, watched the birds out my window, slept late, meditated, done yoga, watched old movies, and just stayed in my home with just me. If I find one, I will look to see what I can learn from that situation in the present moment. What a waste of my day!a€? These thoughts were still in my head as I entered the glass elevator with a few others on the top deck of the parking garage.
It was assumed that even an woman amateur with no experience could do little harm at the nearly destroyed Temple of Mut, in a remote location south of the Amun precinct at Karnak.
It seemed bettera€”it captured the light of my mooda€”but somehow did not convey the importance of that few hours of Moon Dancing with my Shadows.
Now and then something would move in the silence and take my attention away from the shapes and forms of the plants that lined the walkway. Now absorbed in the beauty of the ocean, focused on the view in the camera, and not feeling my feet, my body tumbles down on the lower deck, my camera flies off into the grass about one foot from the lily pond. As more new-generation voters came to exercise their right to choose along with others that had been voting for a long time, it reminded me of how precious this right is to Americans.
As he voted, we prepared to go outside to collect a€?Zacha€™sa€? vote from the truck, being careful to follow procedures that would allow his ballet to be cast privately. What I have never written about is how difficult and how painful it was to be the Mother of a dying son, and what Life was like for me when I could no longer touch his physical presence. No longer do I pretend that losing a sona€™s physical presence is easy, no longer do I need to be that strongest person in the room, no longer do I hide that losing him changed my own life in ways I could not have imagined. I smiled with the recognition that it is the Seer that I can trust and I let the Story of discontent go.
The need for change calls to be embraced with wonder and welcoming; it is part of the personality that has formed my human experience for as long as I can remember. I try again; I want to catch the light and hold it, but the flame of the candle cannot be held, it must shine wherever it will or it disappears. Without judgment of how things should be, we can simply shine and bask in each othera€™s light. His physical body left us nine years ago, but for me his spirit is in the sound of the wind through the treetops and in the light of an early Easter morning sunrise. And as I chuckle at this thought that is now present, my perception of losing some short-term memory gives me ample time to remember the most important thing: what is the present moment offering me as an opportunity.
My mother says, behind the flower the great sun, which I feel on my face, casts a dark surrounding edge that make the blossom even more vivid and creates a shadow of the stamens on the petal itself. The light shining in her sea foam green eyes reflects what she is seeing through my voice and her other senses. As a physical manifestation of a living Universe with unique skills, hopes, dreams, and personalities, how much healing we contribute is up to each of us for we have free will to choose what we will create. In the words of Lamott, I am truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who I was born to be.
The strength coming back into his body was coming too late for him to survive this incarnation, but he seemed to love his experiences on the bike. Because of their ages, that would be a very long time into the future, but it was the logic I used to hold on to this small symbol of my sona€™s longing for health and my own. I turned and sped away leaving him to his own period of learning since he had not ridden a bike for sometime. It was a beautiful river, a beautiful moment, a beautiful bike, another memory, and I loved and was honored to share it with this friend. Perhaps your belief is that you love to write, but that you are too old and unknown to get published; you go forward anyway and your book is published and it brings you great joy. Because they are almost 100 years old, their roots under the surrounding plants, rocks, and soil are entwined with and supportive of each other in ways that cannot be undone. Since I did not feel he was open to the idea that this assumption was in and of itself telling about his view of equality, I just said there are many kinds of strength and the subject was ended. As this thought was taking up residence in my brain, I noticed a man and a small boy up ahead. She said, a€?He still makes me laugh.a€? He, in character, chuckled with pleasure at that thought. Ia€™ve dressed to go biking and yet I stayed in the drama unfolding at the French Open as if it had some significance in my own life. Time to make the smoothie that has become a part of my mornings of late: cantaloupe, pineapple, blueberries, yogurt, strawberries, apples, and raspberries. It has been years since I fearfully resisted emotional pain and stiffened and numbed against it.
For so long, I have worked to be conscious, to be authentic, to be present, and in that moment, the part of me that feels sorry for myself was active yet again. She worked there for only three seasons from 1895 to 1897 and she published The Temple of Mut in Asher in 1899 2 with Janet Gourlay, who joined her in the second season.
Perhaps they get busy at work, or their minds are heavy with details, or they are mentally and physically exhausted.
Yes I said a€?shadows.a€? Now a week later I am at home and awake in the early hours of morning and I know it is time to write. Out of that stillness a rabbit hopped, two deer walked slowly behind me, and the early birds of morning began to chirp. This week as I gazed at the two photos, the child and the woman, it dawned on me that the beauty of love has always been within me patiently waiting for me to rediscover it.
With the wisdom that I was changing my own life not his, I decided to offer him my support for sobriety one more time. The silence of deep meditation, the practice to live in this moment, and the awareness that we are a part of something bigger than our physical being have supported me to accept and heal from the things I can not change. As we close our eyes and state our intentions for the week, I feel his love and send him mine.
I am filled with love and gratitude for the ability to write my thoughts and feelings down in a way that enriches and expresses my experiences. Each day the intention to live in fear of losing a physical existence that is inevitable carries us away from the love that is the essence of the Life we all share. When I took it to be restored with new tires, etc., the repairman remarked on how well it was made and how unworn it appeared.
Perhaps your belief is that your life experiences should have been different, but deep inside you know that it has been those experiences that have created you Life.
This deep presence and seeing of their combined lives bring a growing appreciation of connectedness. By convention, equiluxes are the days where sunrise and sunset are closest to being exactly 12 hours apart. His physical pain during the discussion expressed itself in a visible expressed pain in his chest as he talked about the need to live a more solitary Life to insure his freedom to be himself.
I have a deep knowing that no matter what my perception is in the moment, the Universe is a friendly supportive force within me that a€?does not take sides, but seeks only balance.a€? It is my intention to have compassion for what I hear and see and to learn the lesson of impermanence as I witness it in nature. What mattered was the memory of love and support that flowed through the energy of the house into me and then to my daughtera€™s family. I began to think he was just bored as my friend and I turned to playing games on my IPad, so I asked if he would like to join us. Their smells mingle with the sounds of the rain and for a moment the blender whirl drowns out all other sounds. In the introduction to that publication of her work she emphasized that it was the first time any woman had been given permission by the Egyptian Department of Antiquities to excavate; she was well aware that it was something of an accomplishment. I had forgotten this feeling of freedom that has moved my spirit since I was a child, the love of nighttime, and the magic of moonlight.
Since staying here on the deck doesna€™t seem to be an option, I pull myself up, retrieve my camera (bent but not broken), and shuffle back to my room and sit silently on the bed. He lay in the back seat of the truck, and as I stood on my knees in the front seat to get his ID papers, Zach asked, Can I vote? It had been a few years since we had seen him because he just never showed up to family gatherings. This time was different than before; this time I knew I could accept whatever choice he made, but he was my son and for myself I needed to offer him assistance one last time! The deep wound of loss affected many of my relationships and still I clung to the strength of knowing that I had done the a€?righta€? thing. Without the wisdom and acceptance of or a€?surrendera€? to each moment as it is, I cannot choose an appropriate action with a conscious intent and honor my need to live authentically in this moment, and the next, and the next. Her voice falls upon my ears and her words become my thoughts, and I imagine with great specificity how the cherry blossom appears and admire its beauty. This cherry blossom is magnificent, and the glory of its connection to this growing child leaves me speechless and filled with awe for this blessed life. Perhaps your belief is that there is only one Path to God and that prevents you from appreciating all those who believe in a different God than yours.
Depending on where you stand, they are framed by the sky above, or the garden below, or by the giant stone arches of the porch.
There is evidence that we are still there as surely as we are here through our choices to give of ourselves. He said, a€?No, Ia€™ll just walk up to the edge of the golf course.a€? His demeanor seemed unusual, but I dismissed it and returned to the game my friend and I were sharing.
I glide to the coffee maker and the smell of coffee is strong enough to feel like I taste it already. But regardless of what a husband is feeling or going through at work or in his financial affairs, his wife needs his attention and affection.
Just when I could hardly believe the vision my courage had co-created with the moon, a flock of wild geese cut the mist of the lake as they winged their way across in perfect formation. My body is tired, my mood is gray like the clouds above the ocean, and self-doubt seems to have taken me over.
He had stopped answering his phone and his friends called me to say they thought he was dying. Perhaps your thoughts are that your thoughts are true and you do not question further how best to live your Life with yourself or in relationship to others. The annoyance I felt in my body as I viewed his pain turned into compassion and acceptance for us both. The back legs and rear of the frog were already in the snakea€™s mouth and the froga€™s body was badly bloated as its eyes bulged, its front legs kicked, and it sought freedom from the snake.
My choice to visit the past because I love my daughter created a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of time passing in the present, and my gratitude for my daughter and our choices to share our Life sang within my heart; a reminder and then a another memory of time passing in the present!
I smile at the wonder of just being present without thinking something should be different than it is. This need to understand everything that happens has been a recurring theme for as long as I can remember. In that moment, under his white hair and beyond his aging body, there was the light of youth and his eyes held the same excitement I had witnessed in the young girl that morning.
The last five years had been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me as he was better and then not better over and over again. I could do this and I began a long path of self-healing without the courage to ask for support directly. Perhaps you have doubts about your own goodness and forget to look at the generosity that has been a major thread of your Life. Earlier that day, a dog had stumbled upon a horneta€™s nest and had been stung badly, and a staff member went looking for the nest to eliminate it so humans could walk the path without being stung.
I felt the pain of the froga€™s struggle; I wanted to do something to make this stop, but what?
I relived a day when my small son gave my baby daughter a drink from a cup as she rested in her crib; she almost drowned. If I understand it then I can accept it, or more accurately change it; or so my Story goes. We were frankly warned that we should make no discoveries; indeed if any had been anticipated, it was unlikely that the clearance would have been entrusted to inexperienced direction.
Worked in South Indian Canteen where coffee,Tea & Curd Rice were prepared from 18th to 24th Nov during free meals time. Then as if a powerful director had taken over the scene, a fish danced to the ice-like surface of the lake.
Meditation had supported me in staying centered enough to love my daughter and her family, support my partnera€™s interests, hold a demanding job, and attempt to just enjoy and learn about my life. Perhaps your belief is that friends and family should be more open hearted and open minded and so you close your heart and mind to them. It is the most reoccurring event involving injury that comes to the attention of the Nature Foundation. They are delicious and colorful in contrast to the dark quiet of the room and the day outside my window. 3 A Margaret Benson was born June 16, 1865, one of the six children of Edward White Benson. I turned to find a circle of life rippling the water and the dancing fish no longer visible. Perhaps you have made what seems like a mistake and your belief is that you cannot be forgiven and that thought keeps you separate from someone you love.
My thought was that the bees were there first and should be left alone to resettle into their lives. I chose only to stand and watch with sadness and curiosity as this unusual sighting in nature played out.
I gaze at my joy garden that is bright with purple, pink, and white against a blue-gray sky. It had the slight chill of autumn, and I could imagine the burst of color that would soon fill the trees. On this glorious October day, I felt that I had done everything I could and my body sagged from the weight of wanting him to be different. Perhaps the belief is that if you dona€™t act in a certain way, you will not gain acceptance; but someone once said, a€?if you do not always bring with you who you truly a€?area€™ others will fall in love with who you are a€?nota€? and how limiting will that be? It is hard to express all that I saw through the visual memory there in our first small house. He was first an assistant master at Rugby, then the first headmaster of the newly founded Wellington College.He rose in the service of the church as Chancellor of the diocese of Lincoln, Bishop of Truro and, finally, Archbishop of Canterbury. When the word sun is used in the New Testament, it alwaysA connects two or more people into a very vital union.
Had wonderful Darshan of Bhagawan's Divya Sannidhi and on 1st Sept I had a rare opportunity of offering (placing) a flower at the divine Lotus Feet of Divya Sannidhi. It took him some time to physically fill out the ballot, and it was my honor to wait for him. For me, Zacha€™s light infused the darkness around the truck and as I looked from my fellow poll workera€™s eyes to Zacha€™s son-in-lawa€™s eyes, they seemed to glow with something unexplainable. I could no longer watch so we turned away and continued our walk through this civilized and yet still wildly natural, tourist attraction. When these words are linked together as they are in First Peter 3:7, it meansA to share a house together or to dwell together in one residence. Benson was a learned man with a wide knowledge of history and a serious concern for the education of the young.
In the pages, he quotes, William Stafford: What can anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
He was also something of a poet and one of his hymns is still included in the American Episcopal Hymnal. The fact is, there are many husbandsA and wives who live in the same house, who eat at the same table, and who share the same bed,A yet who dona€™t really a€?dwella€? together. They are like two ships that occasionally pass each other.A Although they share the same residence, they live separate lives, never really connecting with eachA other. Arthur Christopher, the eldest, was first a master at Eton and then at Magdalen College, Cambridge.
A noted author and poet with an enormous literary output, he published over fifty books, most of an inspirational nature, but he was also the author of monographs on D. This is a great challenge to men, who often want to be quiet when they come homeA after a busy day at work. Many men would rather sit down in front of the television and flip theA channels all evening rather than communicate with their wives. He helped to edit the correspondence of Queen Victoria for publication, contributed poetry to The Yellow Book, and wrote the words to the anthem "Land of Hope and Glory". They live and act as though they are SINGLE.A Husband, learning to share your life with your wife is a skill that must be developed. Most important to the study of the excavator of the Mut Temple, he was the author of The Life and Letters of Maggie Benson, 4 a sympathetic biography which helps to shed some light on her short archaeological career. First, you must seek to obtain that knowledge by reading the Word, by reading a goodA book on marriage, by attending a seminar on how to be a better husband, by listening to a teachingA tape on the subject, and so on.
He also wrote several reminiscences of his family in which he included his sister and described his involvement in her excavations.
He helped to supervise part of the work and he prepared the plan of the temple which was used in her eventual publication. His younger brother, Robert Hugh Benson, took Holy Orders in the Church of England, later converted to Roman Catholicism and was ordained a priest in that rite.
She has cleaned the house, taken care of the children, cooked your evening meal, and faced her own challenges throughout the day. He also achieved some fame as a novelist and poet and rose to the position of Papal Chamberlain. Even more importantly, she wants fellowship withyou because you are the one she loves and needs the most. Her publication of the excavation is cited in every reference to theTemple of Mut in the Egyptological literature, but she is known to history as a name in a footnote and little else.A Margaret Benson was born at Wellington College during her father's tenure as headmaster. Or why dona€™t you sit at the kitchen table with your wife and let her tell you all about her day over a cup of coffee or tea? Each career advancement for him meant a move for the family so her childhood was spent in a series of official residences until she went to Oxford in 1883. And after she is finished telling you every nitty-gritty detail of her day, take the time to tell her about your day! She was eighteen when she was enrolled at Lady Margaret Hall, a women's college founded only four years before. She wants to know what you did, whom you talked to, what they said, what happened next, and so on.
One of her tutors commented to his sister that he was sorry Margaret had not been able to read for "Greats" in the normal way. 5 When she took a first in the Women's Honours School of Philosophy, he said, "No one will realize how brilliantly she has done." 6 Since her work was not compared to that of her male contemporaries, it would have escaped noticed.
In her studies she concentrated on political economy and moral sciences but she was also active in many aspects of the college. She participated in dramatics, debating and sports but her outstanding talent was for drawing and painting in watercolor.
Her skill was so superior he thought she should be appointed drawing mistress if she remained at Lady Margaret Hall for any length of time.
If she is assured that she is a top priority in your life and feels secure in her relationship with you, she will gladly follow you and help you wherever God leads.
She began a work titled "The Venture of Rational Faith" which occupied her thoughts for many years. You will findthat if you dona€™t plan these times together, all the other responsibilities of your lives and ministryA consume you, and in the end,A you dona€™t spend enough quality time together.
From the titles alone they suggest a young woman who was deeply concerned with problems of society and the spirit and this preoccupation with the spiritual was to be one of her concerns throughout the rest of her life. In some of her letters from Egypt it is clear that she was attempting to understand something of the spiritual life of the ancient Egyptians, not a surprising interest for the daughter of a churchman like Edward White Benson. A In 1885, at the age of twenty, Margaret was taken ill with scarlet fever while at Zermatt in Switzerland.
Open your heart to her; talk to her like she is your best friend and most important confidant. By the time she was twenty-five she had developed the symptoms of rheumatism and the beginnings of arthritis. You see, if you have aA happy wife, you can be sure that youa€™ll have a partner who is with you all the way. She made her first voyage to Egypt in 1894 because the warm climate was considered to be beneficial for those who suffered from her ailments.
So I urge youA today to learn how to dwell with your wife according to knowledge.A Make sure that from this day forward, you treat your wife like she is a top priority in your life! Wintering in Egypt was highly recommended at the time for a wide range of illnesses ranging from simple asthma to "mental strain." Lord Carnarvon, Howard Carter's sponsor in the search for the tomb of Tutankhamun, was one of the many who went to Egypt for reasons of health. Your rewards are out of this WORLD!!A Lord, I ask You to forgive me for not spending enough time with my wife. After Cairo and Giza she went on by stages as far as Aswan and the island temples of Philae. She commented on the "wonderful calm" of the Great Sphinx, the physical beauty of the Nubians, the color of the stone at Philae, the descent of the cataract by boat, which she said was "not at all dangerous". I am so sorry Ia€™ve been so selfish and havena€™t been the husband I need to be for my wife. By the end of January she was established in Luxor with a program of visits to the monuments set out. I don't feel as if I should have really had an idea of Egypt at all if I hadn't stayed here -- the Bas-reliefs of kings in chariots are only now beginning to look individual instead of made on a pattern, and the immensity of the whole thing is beginning to dawn -- and the colours, oh my goodness! As Goda€™s Spirit works in meA and transforms me more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, I am becoming a betterA husband to my wife. Because I love her deeply and regularly show my love to her, she feelsA secure and confident in our relationship.
As a result, she is willing to follow me whereverA God leads and is supportive of my decisions. The ancient language and script she found fascinating but she was not as interested in reading classical Arabic. Her interest was maintained by the variety of animal and bird life for at home in England she had been surrounded by domestic animals and had always been keen on keeping pets. By the time her first stay ended in March, 1894, she had already resolved to return in the fall. Husband, how much time in a week do you think you spend using your remoteA control to mindlessly flip through the television channels?A 2.
When Margaret returned to Egypt in November she had already conceived the idea of excavating a site and thus applied to the Egyptian authorities. Husband, what can you eliminate from your schedule so you can spend moreA time with your wife? Edouard Naville, the Swiss Egyptologist who was working at the Temple of Hatshepsut at Dier el Bahri for the Egypt Exploration Fund, wrote to Henri de Morgan, Director of the Department of Antiquities, on her behalf. Are you sending her the right message when you never haveA time for her, but you somehow have time for everyone else?
From her letters of the time, it is clear that this was one of the most exciting moments of Margaret Benson's life because she was allowed to embark on what she considered a great adventure. A Margaret's physical condition at the beginning of the excavation was of great concern to the family. State President has conducted meetings with EG and WG teams in Rajahmundry and Kovvur Sathya Sai Mandirs respectively.
A Margaret Benson had no particular training to qualify or prepare her for the job but what she lacked in experience she more than made up for with her "enthusiastic personality" and her intellectual curiosity. In the preface to The Temple of Mut in Asher she said that she had no intention of publishing the work because she had been warned that there was little to find. On the same day evening had a small meeting with BV Group in ESS and witnessed Sri Sairam Iyer songs (Dual Voice). In the introduction to The Temple of Mut in Asher acknowledgments were made and gratitude was offered to a number of people who aided in the work in various ways. The professional Egyptologists and archaeologists included Naville, Petrie, de Morgan, Brugsch, Borchardt, Daressy, Hogarth and especially Percy Newberry who translated the inscriptions on all of the statues found.
Lea), 10 a Colonel Esdaile, 11 and Margaret's brother, Fred, helped in the supervision of the work in one or more seasons.
A It is usually assumed that Margaret Benson and Janet Gourlay worked only as amateurs, with little direction and totally inexperienced help. It is clear from the publication that Naville helped to set up the excavation and helped to plan the work. Hogarth 12 gave advice in the direction of the digging and Newberry was singled out for his advice, suggestions and correction as well as "unwearied kindness." Margaret's brother, Fred, helped his inexperienced sister by supervising some of the work as well as making a measured plan of the temple which is reproduced in the publication.
Benson) was qualified to help because he had intended to pursue archaeology as a career, studied Classical Languages and archaeology at Cambridge, and was awarded a scholarship at King's College on the basis of his work. He organized a small excavation at Chester to search for Roman legionary tomb stones built into the town wall and the results of his efforts were noticed favorably by Theodore Mommsen, the great nineteenth century classicist, and by Mr. Benson went on to excavate at Megalopolis in Greece for the British School at Athens and published the result of his work in the Journal of Hellenic Studies.
His first love was Greece and its antiquities and it is probable that concern for his sister's health was a more important reason for him joining the excavation than an interest in the antiquities of Egypt. 13A It is interesting to speculate as to why a Victorian woman was drawn to the Temple of Mut. The precinct of the goddess who was the consort of Amun, titled "Lady of Heaven", and "Mistress of all the Gods", is a compelling site and was certainly in need of further exploration in Margaret's time. Its isolation and the arrangement with the Temple of Mut enclosed on three sides by its own sacred lake made it seem even more romantic. 14 When she began the excavation three days was considered enough time to "do" the monuments of Luxor and Margaret said that few people could be expected to spend even a half hour at in the Precinct of Mut. A On her first visit to Egypt in 1894 she had gone to see the temple because she had heard about the granite statues with cats' heads (the lion-headed images of Sakhmet). The donkey-boys knew how to find the temple but it was not considered a "usual excursion" and after her early visits to the site she said that "The temple itself was much destroyed, and the broken walls so far buried, that one could not trace the plan of more than the outer court and a few small chambers". 15 The Precinct of the Goddess Mut is an extensive field of ruins about twenty-two acres in size, of which Margaret had chosen to excavate only the central structure. Connected to the southernmost pylons of the larger Amun Temple of Karnak by an avenue of sphinxes, the Mut precinct contains three major temples and a number of smaller structures in various stages of dilapidation. She noted some of these details in her initial description of the site, but in three short seasons she was only able to work inside the Mut Temple proper and she cleared little of its exterior. Serious study of the temple complex was started at least as early as the expedition of Napoleon at the end of the eighteenth century when artists and engineers attached to the military corps measured the ruins and made drawings of some of the statues.
During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, the great age of the treasure hunters in Egypt, Giovanni Belzoni carried away many of the lion-headed statues and pieces of sculpture to European museums.
Champollion, the decipherer of hieroglyphs, and Karl Lepsius, the pioneer German Egyptologist, both visited the precinct, copied inscriptions and made maps of the remains.16 August Mariette had excavated there and believed that he had exhausted the site.
Most of the travelers and scholars who had visited the precinct or carried out work there left some notes or sketches of what they saw and these were useful as references for the new excavation. Since some of the early sources on the site are quoted in her publication, Margaret was obviously aware of their existence. 17A On her return to Egypt at the end of November, 1894, she stopped at Mena House hotel at Giza and for a short time at Helwan, south of Cairo. Helwan was known for its sulphur springs and from about 1880 it had become a popular health resort, particularly suited for the treatment of the sorts of maladies from which Margaret suffered.
People at every turn asked if she remembered them and her donkey-boy almost wept to see her. A "On January 1st, 1895, we began the excavation" -- with a crew composed of four men, sixteen boys (to carry away the earth), an overseer, a night guardian and a water carrier. The largest the work gang would be in the three seasons of excavation was sixteen or seventeen men and eighty boys, still a sizable number.
Before the work started Naville came to "interview our overseer and show us how to determine the course of the work". A A good part of Margaret's time was occupied with learning how to supervise the workmen and the basket boys. Since her spoken Arabic was almost nonexistent, she had to use a donkey-boy as a translator. It would have been helpful if she had had the opportunity to work on an excavation conducted by a professional and profit from the experience but she was eager to learn and had generally good advice at her disposal so she proceeded in an orderly manner and began to clear the temple. On the second of January she wrote to her mother: "I don't think much will be found of little things, only walls, bases of pillars, and possibly Cat-statues. I shall feel rather like --'Massa in the shade would lay While we poor niggers toiled all day' -- for I am to have a responsible overseer, and my chief duty apparently will be paying.
18A She is described as riding out from the Luxor Hotel on donkey-back with bags of piaster pieces jingling for the Saturday payday. She had been warned to pay each man and boy personally rather than through the overseer to reduce the chances of wages disappearing into the hands of intermediaries. The workmen believed that she was at least a princess and they wanted to know if her father lived in the same village as the Queen of England. When they sang their impromptu work songs (as Egyptian workmen still do) they called Margaret the "Princess" and her brother Fred the "Khedive". A PART II: THE EXCAVATIONSA The clearance was begun in the northern, outer, court of the temple where Mariette had certainly worked. Earth was banked to the north side of the court, against the back of the ruined first pylon but on the south it had been dug out even below the level of the pavement.
Mariette's map is inaccurate in a number of respects suggesting that he was not able to expose enough of the main walls.
At the first (northern) gate it was necessary for Margaret Benson to clear ten or twelve feet of earth to reach the paving stones at the bottom. In the process they found what were described as fallen roofing blocks, a lion-headed statue lying across and blocking the way, and also a small sandstone head of a hippopotamus. In the clearance of the court the bases of four pairs of columns were found, not five as on Mariette's map. After working around the west half of the first court and disengaging eight Sakhmet statues in the process, they came on their first important find. Near the west wall of the court, was discovered a block statue of a man named Amenemhet, a royal scribe of the time of Amenhotep II. The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo 19 but Margaret was given a cast of it to take home to England. When it was discovered she wrote to her father: A My Dearest Papa, We have had such a splendid find at the Temple of Mut that I must write to tell you about it. We were just going out there on Monday, when we met one of our boys who works there running to tell us that they had found a statue. When we got there they were washing it, and it proved to be a black granite figure about two feet high, knees up to its chin, hands crossed on them, one hand holding a lotus. 20A The government had appointed an overseer who spent his time watching the excavation for just such finds. He reported it to a sub-inspector who immediately took the block statue away to a store house and locked it up. He said it was hard that Margaret should not have "la jouissance de la statue que vous avez trouve" and she was allowed to take it to the hotel where she could enjoy it until the end of the season when it would become the property of the museum.
The statue had been found on the pavement level, apparently in situ, suggesting to the excavator that this was good evidence for an earlier dating for the temple than was generally believed at the time. The presence of a statue on the floor of a temple does not necessarily date the temple, but many contemporary Egyptologists might have come to the same conclusion. One visitor to the site recalled that a party of American tourists were perplexed when Margaret was pointed out to them as the director of the dig.
At that moment she and a friend were sitting on the ground quarreling about who could build the best sand castle.
This was probably not the picture of an "important" English Egyptologist that the Americans had expected. A As work was continued in the first court other broken statues of Sakhmet were found as well as two seated sandstone baboons of the time of Ramesses III. 21 The baboons went to the museum in Cairo, a fragment of a limestone stela was eventually consigned to a store house in Luxor and the upper part of a female figure was left in the precinct where it was recently rediscovered.
The small objects found in the season of 1895 included a few coins, a terra cotta of a reclining "princess", some beads, Roman pots and broken bits of bronze.
Time was spent repositioning Sakhmet statues which appeared to be out of place based on what was perceived as a pattern for their arrangement.
Even if they were correct they could not be sure that they were reconstructing the original ancient placement of the statues in the temple or some modification of the original design. In the spirit of neatness and attempting to leave the precinct in good order, they also repaired some of the statues with the aid of an Italian plasterer, hired especially for that purpose. A Margaret was often bed ridden by her illnesses and she was subject to fits of depression as well but she and her brother Fred would while away the evenings playing impromptu parlor games. For a fancy dress ball at the Luxor Hotel she appeared costumed as the goddess Mut, wearing a vulture headdress which Naville praised for its ingenuity. The resources in the souk of Luxor for fancy dress were nonexistent but Margaret was resourceful enough to find material with which to fabricate a costume based, as she said, on "Old Egyptian pictures." A The results of the first season would have been gratifying for any excavator. In a short five weeks the "English Lady" had begun to clear the temple and to note the errors on the older plans available to her. She had started a program of reconstruction with the idea of preserving some of the statues of Sakhmet littering the site. She had found one statue of great importance and the torso of another which did not seem so significant to her.
Her original intention of digging in a picturesque place where she had been told there was nothing much to be found was beginning to produce unexpected results.A The Benson party arrived in Egypt for the second season early in January of 1896.
After a trip down to, they reached Luxor Aswan around the twenty-sixth and the work began on the thirtieth. That day Margaret was introduced to Janet Gourlay who had come to assist with the excavation. The beginning of the long relationship between "Maggie" Benson and "Nettie" Gourlay was not signaled with any particular importance.
By May of the same year she was to write (also to her mother): "I like her more and more -- I haven't liked anyone so well in years". Miss Benson and Miss Gourlay seemed to work together very well and to share similar reactions and feelings. They were to remain close friends for much of Margaret's life, visiting and travelling together often.
Their correspondence reflects a deep mutual sympathy and Janet was apparently much on Margaret's mind because she often mentioned her friend in writing to others. After her relationship with Margaret Benson she faded into obscurity and even her family has been difficult to trace, although a sister was located a few years ago. A For the second season in 1896 the work staff was a little larger, with eight to twelve men, twenty-four to thirty-six boys, a rais (overseer), guardians and the necessary water carrier. With the first court considered cleared in the previous season, work was begun at the gate way between the first and second courts. An investigation was made of the ruined wall between these two courts and the conclusion was drawn that it was "a composite structure" suggesting that part of the wall was of a later date than the rest.
The wall east of the gate opening is of stone and clearly of at least two building periods while the west side has a mud brick core faced on the south with stone. Margaret thought the west half of the wall to be completely destroyed because it was of mud brick which had never been replaced by stone.
She found the remains of "more than one row of hollow pots" which she thought had been used as "air bricks" in some later rebuilding. Originally built of mud brick, like many of the structures in the Precinct of Mut, the south face of both halves of the wall was sheathed with stone one course thick no later than the Ramesside Period.
During the Ptolemaic Period the core of the east half of the mud brick wall was replaced with stone but the Ramesside sheathing was retained. Here the untrained excavator was beginning to understand some of the problems of clearing a temple structure in Egypt. Mariette's plan of the second chamber probably seemed accurate after a superficial examination so a complete clearing seemed unnecessary. Other fragments were found and the original height of the seated statue was estimated between fourteen and sixteen feet high. The following year de Morgan, the Director General of the Department of Antiquities, ordered the head sent to the museum in Cairo The finding of the large lion head is mentioned in a letter from Margaret to her mother dated February 9, 1896, 22.
In the same letter she also mentions the discovery of a statue of Ramesses II on the day before the letter was written. 23.Her published letters often give exact or close dates of discoveries whereas her later publication in the Temple of Mut in Asher was an attempt at a narrative of the work in some order of progression through the temple and dates are often lacking. About the same time that the giant lion head was found some effort was made to raise a large cornerstone block but a crowbar was bent and a rope was broken. The end result of the activity is not explained at that point and the location of the corner not given but it can probably be identified with the southeast cornerstone of the Mut Temple mentioned later in a description of the search for foundation deposits. A Somewhere near the central axis of the second court, but just inside the gateway, they came on the upper half of a royal statue with nemes headdress and the remains of a false beard. There had been inscriptions on the shoulder and back pillar but these had been methodically erased. The lower half was found a little later and it was possible to reconstruct an over life-sized, nearly complete, seated statue of a king.
The excavators published it as "possibly" Tutankhamun, an identification not accepted today, and it is still to be seen, sitting to the east of the gateway, facing into the second court.24 A large statue of Sakhmet was also found, not as large as the colossal head, but larger than the other figures still in the precinct and in most Egyptian collections.
It was also reconstructed and left in place, on the west side of the doorway where it is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the temple. In the clearance of the second court a feature described as a thin wall built out from the north wall was found in the northeast corner. It was later interpreted by the nineteenth century excavators as part of the arrangement for a raised cloister and it was not until recent excavation that it was identified as the lower part of the wall of a small chapel, built against the north wall of the court.
The process of determining any sequence of the levels in the second court was complicated by the fact that it had been worked over by earlier treasure hunters and archaeologists. In some cases statues were found below the original floor level, leading to the assumption that some pieces had fallen, broken the pavement, and sunk into the floor of their own weight. It is more probable that the stone floors had been dug out and undermined in the search for antiquities.
A An attempt was made to put the area in order for future visitors as the excavation progressed. This included the reconstruction of some of the statues as found and the moving of others in a general attempt to neaten the appearance of the temple. Other finds made in the second court included inscribed blocks too large to move or reused in parts of walls still standing. The statue identified as Ramesses II, mentioned in Margaret's letter of February 9, was found on the southwest side of the court, near the center.
It was a seated figure in pink granite, rather large in size, but when it was completely uncovered it was found to be broken through the middle with the lower half in an advanced state of disintegration. The upper part was in relatively good condition except for the left shoulder and arm and it was eventually awarded to the excavators.
A Mention was also made of several small finds from the second court including a head of a god in black stone and part of the vulture headdress from a statue of a goddess or a queen. The recent ongoing excavations carried out by the Brooklyn Museum have revealed a female head with traces of a vulture headdress as well as a number of fragments of legs and feet which suggest that the head of the god found by Margaret Benson was from a pair statue representing Amun and Mut.
Another important discovery she made on the south side of the court was a series of sandstone relief blocks representing the arrival at Thebes of Nitocris, daughter of Psamtik I, as God's Wife of Amun.25A At some time during the season Margaret was made aware of the possibility that foundation deposits might still be in place.
These dedicatory deposits were put down at the time of the founding of a structure or at a time of a major rebuilding, and they are often found under the cornerstones, the thresholds or under major walls, usually in the center. They contain a number of small objects including containers for food offerings, model tools and model bricks or plaques inscribed with the name of the ruler. The importance of finding such a deposit in the Temple of Mut was obvious to Margaret because it would prove to everyone's satisfaction who had built the temple, or at least who had made additions to it. A They first looked for foundation deposits in the middle of the gateway between the first and second courts.
At the same time another part of the crew was clearing the innermost rooms in the south part of the temple. Under the central of the three chambers they discovered a subterranean crypt with an entrance so small that it had to be excavated by "a small boy with a trowel".
This chamber has been re-cleared in recent years and proved to be a small rectangular room with traces of an erased one-line text around the four walls.
In antiquity the access seems to have been hidden by a paving stone which had to be lifted each time the room was entered.
A The search for foundation deposits continued in the southeast corner of the temple (probably the place where the crowbar was bent and the rope broken).
Again no deposit was found but in digging around the cornerstone, below the original ground level, they began to find statues and fragments of statues. As the earth continued to yield more and more pieces of sculpture, Legrain arrived from the Amun Temple, where he was supervising the excavation, and announced his intention to take everything away to the storehouse. Aside from the pleasure of the find, it was important to have the objects at hand for study, comparison and the copying of inscriptions.



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